“I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself.”

For the past 20 years I have occupied a small but important spot in the middle of the corn fields of the Midwest. I have stayed close to home and created a place where I nurtured and taught my five children. Our home and our land have been our sanctuary and my family’s playground. I treasure my home and all that it has meant to us, but I also dreamt of faraway places, France and Italy specifically.

I don’t recall when the romance began, but a spark was lit and soon it ignited my passion. For years I have delighted in French décor. I created gardens and patios where I could pretend that we were dining alfresco in Provence or Tuscany. I even topped off our evenings with music from each region.

I dreamed of going to Europe, but I thought it would always stay a dream.

In 7 days, my dream comes true! Step by step, my husband and I turned my dream into a goal, then into plans and in just a few days it will all become a reality.

This past week, I almost watched my dream go up in smoke. We were all riding high. Conversations about our upcoming Europe trip sometimes erupted with giddy enthusiasm. (That was mostly me.) Dreams were coming true and we were counting the days until our departure. Only 18 days and…

The doctor, without feeling, announced to my husband, “You have shingles in your eye. This can affect your vision, and you can’t go to Europe.” I didn’t even make it to the car before I broke down. It was a bitter blow on all counts and at that moment it was more than I could take.

The weekend was filled with getting prescriptions and putting eye drops in my husband’s eye. Our dog Lilly began to act sick and I knew, come Monday after seeing the eye doctor again that I would be taking her to the vet. Lilly never came home from the vet. After 11 years we said goodbye to our sweet sheltie.

My husband faced a serious diagnosis. We grieved our sweet pet and my European dream was smashed in a moment.

The good news is, Steve is doing very well. Prayer has been answered. He has improved so much that the doctor has said we can still go on our trip. While running toward the finish line of my dream, the enemy tripped me and caused me to stumble but with God’s help I got back up and I am heading toward the finish line once more.

When you are caught off guard and life or the enemy tries to knock you down, hold on, ask for help and prayer, and keep believing.

One of the joys of this trip is my plan to share it with you. If you are not already a Francophile, maybe I can entice you. If you’ve been thinking about a European trip, maybe I can give you some suggestions and inspiration. If you just enjoy arm-chair traveling then I hope to share all my discoveries with you.

I was my own travel agent and I will share my tips for trip planning along the way.

Here is the iteniary:


The Loire Valley

Dordogne – Sarlat-la-Caneda

Provence – Bonnieux

Tuscany – Cortona



Austria – Hallstatt

Lake Como Italy

Drive through Switzerland

France – Colmar

Paris – Versailles

If you have suggestions for any of these locations, please share them with all of us.

To make the journey fun for everyone, not only will I share about each location, but I also have fun and prizes in store.

To begin with – I will share a fascinating fact about each location we visit. I will share the information here in future posts. I will also share the information, photos and videos on social media, so please friend me on Facebook, ‘Like’ my Author page, join our Facebook group The Breezy Porch and follow me on Twitter.

I will also post photos on Instagram so please follow me there.

There will be opportunities to answer questions and win prizes.

Our first prize is the book, “The Most Beautiful Villages of France” The Official Guide 2019 Edition

Discover the hidden treasures of the 157 most picturesque villages to visit in France, with this fully illustrated comprehensive travel guide.

To Enter:

You must be subscribed to this newsletter and leave a comment – “Where is your dream destination?”

A winner will be randomly drawn from all the comments. Comments will be accepted through August 31.

Check out my daughters’ new travel blog. Get great updates and photos from twins on tour. The Traveling Twins

Even though I’m heading to Europe I haven’t forgotten that Autumn is right around the corner. Enjoy all that this cozy season has to offer.

Be sure to download my free gift to you, 75 Seasonal Pleasures -Autumn

I pray that you all enjoy a peaceful and happy return school and to the fall season.

30 Responses

  1. My dream destination is Sicily because visiting there would make my husband the happiest man in the world. 🙂 I am so excited for you, my dear friend!

  2. So excited to watch your journey through Europe! My dream destination is Paris, France! Take lots of pics for me:)

    1. Donna, let’s go to the Amalfi coast together!! It is also one of my dream destinations. We’ll be 3 and a half hours away and I can’t work things out to get there. It is a must-go-to on the next trip.

  3. Debbie, I am so excited for you! I can’t wait to see photos and read about all of your adventures. I wish you safe and blessed travels, and memories that will last a lifetime. You will be traveling to many of the places I would love to visit someday. I would add England to that list as well. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Robin! England is also on my list. I’ve always wanted to go to Beatrix Potter’s Lake District. Hopefully that will be one of my next overseas journeys.

  4. I’m so happy and excited for you! I’ll be closely watching that ‘drive through Switzerland’ as that has always been a place I would love to visit. Have a great time!!

  5. Bon Jour. Guess what. YOU DID IT! I am very proud of you and excited for your trip. Live it one day at a time. Take time to smell the roses and all the other aroma’s. Tell everyone in France that Judy and Lou will be back next year. We love you.

    1. Thanks Dad!! You never know, I may visit you at one of your canal stops next year. I’m so excited to finally fall more in love with France.

  6. I am so happy for you that you can finally make your trip more than a dream. I know my husband and I will never forget as middle age adults, our college Renaissance Art class in Florence. During the 3 weeks we traveled to Rome, Venice, Sienna, Pisa to see areas that had only been a dream. Your experiences will last you a lifetime. We live in a small town in central NY state and found that the world is vastly different but also the same in many ways than our sheltered area. Have a great time!

    1. Thank you Kathie! I know this will be a trip I remember for ever. My 18 year old twins and one of my sons and his wife are coming along. I’m so glad they get to have this experience so young. I’m hoping for a broader view of the world.

  7. I haven’t been to France, but I’ve been to Rome, Venice and Halstatt. Have a great trip, and I will enjoy your journeys reviews.

      1. Choosing just one dream destination is much much to difficult, but El Ateneo in Buenos Aires Argentina would be without a doubt amazing ❤️❤️ It’s an old theatre that was converted into a book store, so it’s a combination of 3 of my greatest passions all wrapped into one!

  8. I can’t wait to see all your pictures and memories from this beautiful dream vacation! Sending much love and prayers for safe travel!

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