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GUEST COLUMN: See an opportunity? Grab it

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Suzanne Gulvin-Smith

Seize the day!

This has become my new motto. Approaching 50 with trepidation, I realize life is too short to miss opportunities. Seize the day and suffer no regrets.

Recently, such an opportunity presented itself. After months of deliberation, I seized the day. My children are just shy of being independent. I am not needed as much around the house for taxi service and food preparation. My husband, always independent, able to live off his meagre culinary skills of toast and hot dogs, would miss me but you know what they say about absence.

My mother’s fortuitous stock investment was enough to take us on a once in a lifetime adventure. Initially, I refused the kind offer due to work and family commitments, and personal issues; could my mother and I survive each other’s company? My father gently reminded me that neither mum nor I was getting any younger and it couldn’t be “taken with her.”

In February, the trip was booked for June. We spent ten days in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador on a 16-passenger yacht with bunk beds in the bowels of the boat. Our days started with a sunrise walk and included snorkelling and hiking through the day. We were not long out of bed in the evenings and fell asleep with the gentle rocking of the boat, dreaming of blue footed boobies, sea lions, frigate birds, albatross and iguanas, anticipating the next day’s adventure.

Machu Picchu, Peru was no different. Our adventure started in Miraflores, a suburb of Lima, Peru. A thriving metropolis on the Pacific Coast. Two days of much needed rest after our action-packed cruise provided us the opportunity to walk the city and explore the coastline, immersing ourselves in Peruvian culture and eating local foods, including guinea pig.

We flew to Cusco, reaching the highest altitude of 3,400 metres. After acclimatizing in the Andean Mountains, we headed to Machu Picchu via buses, trains and hiking. At 83, mum wanted a mattress beneath her every night. Hiking the Inca Trail was not an option entertained by either of us!

Our experience was no less spectacular as we ascended the final peak. Our research paid off as we stood on the rise of the abandoned city of the Incas built mid-15th century and I was there with my mother! What an experience and a treasured memory!

Carpe diem and enjoy life to its fullest, as we only have one chance at this one. Adventures come in all shapes and sizes. A day trip to London window shopping or stopping in for a cup of tea and a game of cards with my parents, whatever the adventure, learn to value each one.

Suzanne Gulvin-Smith is a daughter, sister, aunt, wife and a proud mother of four young adults who will never again forsake a golden opportunity.


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