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Announcing the Travel Essay Winner! April 14, 2010

Posted by franciecooper in life coaching, life lessons, Uncategorized.
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Hooray! We have a champ! Congratulations to Judy in Denver for submitting the winning entry in last week’s Travel Essay Contest! She receives the beautiful travel book Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips by National Geographic, PLUS, my favorite one-hour workshop “Work-Life Balance – Yes You Can!” for ten participants.

Before I share Judy’s essay, I want to thank everyone who submitted your travel adventures. Because of the enthusiastic response, I plan to run more contests in the future and hope you will enter again!

So, without further ado (drum roll, please) – Judy’s entry:

Thirty Minutes by the Lake

One of the most profound moments of my life happened early one June morning in the lakes district of Switzerland.

I was traveling with a dozen fifteen-year-old girls and two other adults. Just moving that many people with backpacks through hostels and trains in villages and cities was hectic and sometimes exhausting. We were midway through our 20-day adventure to Germany, Switzerland and Austria. I was feeling the need for alone time, but couldn’t possible do that during the waking hours.

When we arrived at the hostel, I noticed that it was a block from a beautiful lake edged by tall trees. It looked so peaceful and serene that I thought it would be the perfect spot for a much-needed personal respite. So I made a plan: get up an hour before anyone else, grab my camera and head to the lake.

The air was crisp and the sun was just peeking through the trees to sparkle on the water. I was enthralled with the tranquil setting. I was soothed by the beautiful scenery and the sounds of birds chirping.

I noticed an elderly gentleman approaching with a Labrador dog. We smiled and greeted each other in foreign languages. I stood back and watched him throw a dog biscuit into the water for his dog to fetch. His dog was thrilled to swim out to the treat and eat it on his return to shore. Then the man threw out another, and another.

Soon it was time for the old man and his old dog to leave. He turned to me, smiled and waved “so long.” I smiled as they turned to walk down the sunlit path away from me. It was a magical encounter with a stranger and his loyal friend, captured forever on my film.

It’s been 22 years since that enchanting thirty minutes by the lake. Even today when I visualize that morning it brings me great peace and always a smile.


I chose this entry for many reasons. Primarily, I could feel the long-lasting impact this experience had on Judy’s life. I also salute her realization that she needed some alone-time to recharge her batteries and that she did something about it! So often we ignore those nudges, only to wonder why we fall apart later. Finally, I love the imagery. I felt myself on the edge of that lake and it gave me my own moment of respite. Thank you, Judy!

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