Month: December 2023

Wisdom of the Old

wisdom of the old

When I was in my 20s, I had an epiphany that never left me. To some, this revelation might seem commonplace or unoriginal, but to me, at that time, it was pivotal. And the epiphany was this: Just because a person is old does not mean s/he has acquired wisdom.

I had been introduced to the elderly father of a friend of mine, an Englishman who had been a diplomat in the foreign service, who I assumed would have many rich stories to tell about life and what he had learned during his world travels. But, to my amazement, he had nothing insightful to say about his experiences or anything else for that matter.

With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone.

—Oscar Wilde

Wisdom of the Last Days

Perhaps you have been in a similar situation at the deathbed of a loved one, waiting for those final words of wisdom to be shared and yet none come. A closing like this can be extremely sad because it leaves the living with a sense of emptiness and incompleteness and shows us that the person merely got old without growing up well. On the other hand, one’s last words can have great power to guide the next generation and to bring them solace and understanding.

Wisdom in Literature

In Western literature we find iconic examples of those whose influence young protagonists heeded to their great advantage: Virgil from Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy; Merlin from the Arthurian legends; Gandalf from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings; Aslan from C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia; Yoda, the Jedi Master of the Galactic Republic from Star Wars, Dumbledore from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, and the list goes on, the point here being that without their sagacious contributions, the respective narratives might have gone very wrong.

In the ancient cultures of India and East Asia it was traditional for older men and women to surrender all they had acquired to their children – owning nothing and being owned by nothing – and to live their remaining years simply and in nature where they could freely drift like a cloud and flow like water, giving everything over to the Tao and thereby releasing themselves from all anxiety. A famous poem called Inquiring for the Master echoes the feeling of this highly valued life chapter:

I asked the boy beneath the pines
He said, ‘The master has gone alone,
herb gathering somewhere on the mountain,
cloud hidden, whereabouts unknown.’

In silence and reflection deep wisdom was gently cultivated as the years passed.

Self-Reflection and Wisdom

Instinctively, we know the importance of taking personal breaks from our routines and of participating in healing retreats or sabbaticals, sensing a need to “come back to ourselves.” Yet as beneficial as these respites can be, they tend to fade when we re-immerse ourselves in the obligations and responsibilities we all have.

Ensuring that self-reflection is a natural feature of our day, however, can extend the effects of these pauses and provide meaning as we age. With the additional time retirement or having cut back from full-time employment has given us, we now have more occasion to contemplate and to mindfully acquire wisdom – after all, wisdom is not a commodity! – so that when we are asked our opinion, we actually have thoughtful counsel to share that has the potential to positively impact those who seek it.

Age is opportunity no less than youth itself,
though in another dress,
and as the evening twilight fades away,
the sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.

—Oscar WildeHenry Wadsworth Longfellow

And so we might look at the years after 60 as providing us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go deeper and in doing so to be able to pass on the luminosity of those evening stars to others.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you passed your wisdom down to somebody? Who was it? Why did you choose that person and how did they accept your words?

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How Can One Word Help You Attract Love?

one word to attract love

Are you feeling you’re ready to bid 2023 goodbye and start fresh with hope of a better year in 2024? If so, you’ll want to ask yourself, what are you willing to do differently to make it better?

Some People Make New Year’s Resolutions

But resolutions are not always a good plan. Only 9% of people keep their resolutions. Sometimes setting a big goal can be counterproductive because it simply seems like too much of a commitment and impossible to achieve. And you must be mentally ready for change so you’re able to stay motivated long enough to reach your goal.

We all know that nothing changes until something changes. So, if goal setting isn’t your thing, maybe setting a yearly intention is a better place for you to start.

Resolution vs Intention

An intention is one or two words that serve as your mantra or theme for the year. It’s a great way to keep you moving in the right direction without making it so black and white.

A good way to set your intention is to think of a noun or verb that defines how you want to live your upcoming year and creates a benchmark for your success. It’s your internal compass that keeps you heading in the right direction as you evaluate opportunities, make decisions, and take action.

Then, as you go throughout the year, you can check to see how well your decisions and actions are supporting your intention and make any adjustments so you can remain true to your year’s purpose. Living your intention is the easiest way to always find your true north.

A Year of Release

In 2023 my word for the year was RELEASE. I set this as my intention because there were some things I needed to let go of so I could make room for someone else. There were also work things I didn’t want to face up to and family issues I was letting frustrate me. I truly needed to embrace the concept of changing what I can and releasing the things I had no control over.

I knew I was struggling with this and making it my intention kept me focused on it throughout the entire year. Was I successful? Yes, I was some. But perfection is overrated, and I’m happy with my results and feel comfortable enough to choose something new for this year.

My Word for 2024 Is ALLOW

I’m setting ALLOW as my intention because I finally understand how sometimes you need to slow down to speed up and allow things to flow. I’m beginning to understand that you can’t rush the timing of the universe, and things will come to you if you open your heart and allow them in. This includes love. I’m ready to find someone special and I’m allowing love to flow into my life in 2024.

Other Possible Words

Your word is personal to you and can be anything you want it to be. What’s important is that you take some time to reflect on what will make this year better for you than the last. If you struggle to believe love is possible for you, maybe your word for the year could be LOVEABLE.

If fear is stopping you from dating, maybe you would pick FIERCE. Maybe you feel like you want to date, but you don’t know how, then you might want to choose something like KNOWLEDGE. One good method of picking the right word for you is to look at what you struggled with in the past and reframe it to a positive.

You can call your word your intention, theme, mantra – whatever feels comfortable for you. And don’t worry what anyone else might think. I share my word with friends. Some of them get it, and some of them don’t, but that’s not what matters. What matters is that I’ve made a commitment to grow in one specific area of my life throughout the new year. And that’s what counts.

After you decide on your word, write it out by hand on sticky notes and place them where you’ll see them on a regular basis. This will serve as a visual reminder for your brain to stay on course. You may want to move them around the house and rewrite them from time to time to keep your eye seeing them, and your brain receiving them. You don’t want your words to become so expected that they get ignored.

I Am an Intention Type of Person

I like having an intention for the year, and I think you will too. It makes me feel like, even at this stage of life, I am growing in the right direction. I hope you’ll take a moment and think about what changes you can make that will truly move the needle and make it easier for you to attract high-quality love into your life. Finding love is a journey and experiencing personal growth along the way makes it more fulfilling.

If you’re tired of struggling to date with clarity and confidence, check out The Perfect Dating Guide for Women over 50. It guides you through all the stages of dating and offers real-life examples of how coaching can improve how and who you date.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What changes can you make to help you attract love in the new year? What’s your biggest dating struggle to overcome?

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Best of 2023

Best of 2023

Best Sellers, Most Read + Most Liked

2023 is coming to a close and it was our thirteenth year of covering all things Bravo fashion and beauty. It’s hard to believe we’ve been around this long, almost as hard to believe as some of our best of the year. And a great surprise is that many of our best sellers are still in stock!

Thank you for your support this year and always, and we’re looking forward to a fashionable and fabulous 2024.

The Realest Housewife ,

Big Blonde Hair

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Most Read of 2023 Big Blonde Hair

10 . Vanderpump Rules Party Essentials 9. Jenna Lyons’ Black Glasses 8. Ariana Madix’s Patch Cardigan 7. Ariana Madix’s Vanderpump Rules Season 10 Reunion Look 6. Paige DeSorbo’s Green Cargo Pants 5. Taylor Ann Green’s Pink Bow Confessional Dress 4. Summer House Season 7 Episode 2 Fashion 3. Raquel Leviss’ Vanderpump Rules Season 10 Reunion Look 2. Lisa Barlow’s White Sequin Star Jacket 1. Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 15 Reunion Looks

Amazon Best Sellers 2023

Click Here to Shop Big Blonde Hair’s 2023 Amazon Best Sellers

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Originally posted at: Best of 2023

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National Park Bus Tours for Seniors

national park bus tours for seniors

If you’re a senior with a thirst for adventure and a love for the great outdoors, a National Park bus tour can be the ultimate way to explore the breathtaking landscapes and hidden gems of America’s iconic national parks.

These curated bus tours cater to your unique needs and interests, ensuring a safe and comfortable travel experience. Leave the worries of logistics and planning behind as you step aboard the bus, where every detail has been meticulously arranged to make this adventure truly memorable.

  1. Grand Canyon National Park Bus Tours – Various companies offer bus tours that take guests to popular viewpoints along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Some tours may also include stops at other nearby attractions, such as Hoover Dam and Sedona.
  2. Yellowstone National Park Bus Tours – Yellowstone is an iconic destination with numerous bus tours available. These tours typically cover major geysers, hot springs, waterfalls, and wildlife viewing opportunities.
  3. Yosemite National Park Bus Tours – Yosemite’s breathtaking landscapes and waterfalls make it a popular destination for people of all ages. Bus tours can take visitors to highlights like Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, and Mariposa Grove.
  4. Zion National Park Bus Tours – Zion offers shuttle services within the park to help visitors access key points of interest. You can enjoy guided bus tours to see stunning rock formations and picturesque canyons.
  5. Acadia National Park Bus Tours – Located in Maine, Acadia National Park offers scenic coastal views and hiking trails. Bus tours can take you to explore Cadillac Mountain, Jordan Pond, and other notable spots.
  6. Rocky Mountain National Park Bus Tours – This park in Colorado is known for its dramatic mountain landscapes and diverse wildlife. Bus tours cover popular areas like Trail Ridge Road and Bear Lake.
  7. Glacier National Park Bus Tours – You can enjoy guided bus tours through Glacier National Park in Montana, known for its glaciers, lakes, and rugged mountain scenery.

When searching for National Park bus tours for seniors, it’s essential to consider the tour itinerary, duration, included activities, accommodations, and the level of physical activity involved. Always check with the tour operator about their specific offerings and accommodations for senior travelers.

How to Choose a National Park Bus Tour

By following these guidelines, you can confidently choose a National Park bus tour that matches your interests, aligns with your needs, and promises an unforgettable journey through the breathtaking beauty of America’s national parks.

Consider Your Physical Abilities

Before you dive into the tour options, take a moment to assess your physical abilities and limitations. Some tours involve easy walks and minimal physical activity, while others may require more strenuous hikes and outdoor pursuits. Choose a tour that matches your fitness level, ensuring you can fully enjoy the experience without feeling overwhelmed.

Duration and Itinerary

Determine the length of time you wish to spend on the tour. Review the itinerary carefully to ensure it includes visits to the specific attractions that pique your interest. Look for a well-balanced itinerary that covers both iconic landmarks and off-the-beaten-path treasures.

Group Size and Pace

Consider the size of the tour group. Smaller groups often offer a more intimate experience and allow for personalized attention from guides. Also, assess the pace of the tour. If you prefer a leisurely exploration with plenty of time to soak in the scenery, a slower-paced tour might be the right fit.


Inquire about the amenities on the bus, such as restrooms and accessibility features.

The Expertise of Tour Guides

The knowledge and expertise of the tour guides can significantly impact your experience. Look for tours led by certified or experienced guides who are well-versed in the history, geology, and ecology of the national parks. Their insights and storytelling can enrich your journey.

Reviews and Recommendations

Do your research! Read reviews from fellow seniors who have previously taken the tours you’re considering. Their firsthand experiences can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision.

Flexibility and Accessibility

Check if the tour operator can accommodate any special dietary needs, mobility requirements, or medical considerations you may have. A tour that prioritizes accessibility ensures everyone can enjoy the adventure.

National Bus Tours for Seniors

These tours provide an opportunity to connect with the great outdoors while learning about the rich history, diverse ecosystems, and unique wildlife that call these national parks home.

Grand Canyon South Rim Bus Tour

Your day begins early with a shuttle picking you up from your Las Vegas hotel. Then, you’ll hop onto a comfortable bus for a Grand Canyon adventure. The bus trip takes you through the vast Mojave Desert and includes crossing the Colorado River Bridge near the Hoover Dam. As you pass through Kingman, Arizona, you’ll head to the Grand Canyon National Park.

Once you reach your destination, the Grand Canyon National Park, you’ll enjoy a tasty buffet lunch and explore the park. You’ll have time to walk along the canyon rim and pick up some souvenirs at the Bright Angel Lodge.

The tour includes hotel pick-up and drop-off, a comfortable air-conditioned bus with restrooms and TV monitors, and informative commentary from your driver/guide. You’ll visit key points in the Grand Canyon, like Mather Point, Yavapai Point, and Grand Canyon Village, with a stop at the National Geographic Center Food Court in Tusayan, Arizona, where you can enjoy a meal. The entire tour takes about 14-15 hours.

West Yellowstone Summer Bus Tours

Yellowstone Vacation Tours make it easy for you to experience the wonder of this amazing National Park in style and comfort, all while learning from the local guides who know it best. They ensure that you will not only see the best of what Yellowstone has to offer but also learn some amazing and fun facts along the way! They offer several informative and entertaining summer bus tours, including trips into Yellowstone National Park and exploring the surrounding area.

You’ll experience comfortable coaches and knowledgeable, interpretive guides, all of whom are Certified Interpretive Guides (CIGs).

Yosemite National Park Day Tour

Get ready for an amazing one-day trip to Yosemite National Park! You’ll depart from San Francisco on a comfy bus. Along the way, there’s a pit stop in the Central Valley where you can pick up a picnic lunch.

When you reach the entrance of Yosemite National Park, you’ll take a scenic drive and stop at a famous viewpoint. From there, you’ll see Bridalveil Falls, El Capitan, and Half Dome up close. Then, you’ll have around three hours to explore Yosemite Valley on your own. You can check out the impressive Yosemite Falls and even take a hike to the Lower Falls. There are also options for lunch, hiking, renting bikes, visiting museums, and using the free shuttle to see other parts of the park.

Your tour includes a comfy air-conditioned bus, a guide to tell you interesting things, an entrance to the park, a bus tour in Yosemite Valley, lots of chances for photos, and free time.

Zion National Park Tour

Enjoy a complimentary breakfast snack during the relaxing 3-hour drive across Southern Utah. Take in the breathtaking scenery, like the impressive Virgin River Gorge, as you travel along I-15 on your way to Zion. The canyon walls tower above you on both sides, creating a truly stunning route.

Midway through the drive, your driver and guide will pick up a fresh deli lunch for you on the way from Las Vegas to Zion. You can savor your lunch on the bus or have a picnic when you arrive at the park.

Unlike standard Grand Canyon tour companies that use a single person for driving and guiding, at Grand Canyon Destinations, they prioritize safety and service. That’s why they have a separate driver and tour guide on every tour bus. Your dedicated tour guide will be there to provide guidance, share interesting facts and stories, answer your questions, and assist you throughout the tour.

Upon your arrival, you’ll be greeted by the stunning sandstone cliffs outside your window. The park’s diverse shades of red, orange, and pink rocks will surround you as you venture further into the park. Your first stop in Zion will be at the Zion Visitor Center. Here, you can gather more information about the park, obtain maps, and learn about hiking trails before setting out into Zion.

You’ll have up to 6 hours to explore the wonders of Zion National Park, providing ample time for hiking and other activities of your choice. Hop onto the park shuttle at the Zion Visitor Center to witness the park’s main scenic feature, Zion Canyon. This vast view offers a glimpse of the park’s truly grand scale.

Acadia National Park Tours

You can experience the wonder and beauty of Acadia National Park from mid-May to October. These tours, featuring stops within Acadia National Park, dive into the history of Bar Harbor and Acadia, the park’s geology, its wildlife, and much more. You’ll visit key spots like the summit of Cadillac Mountain, Thunder Hole by the ocean, and Sieur De Monts Spring with the Wild Gardens of Acadia.

All the tours are on comfy buses equipped with an amplified PA system. You won’t need to walk much, and you can decide how much walking you want to do. Restrooms are available at the ticket office and at each park stop.

Classic Tour (2.5 Hours) – This is the classic, tried-and-true tour since 1955! It’s 2.5 hours long and includes three stops within Acadia National Park: Cadillac Mountain, Thunder Hole, and Sieur De Mont’s Spring. Each stop is about 15-20 minutes.

Premium Tour (3.5 – 4 Hours) – The Premium Tour is an extended version of the Classic Tour, lasting 3.5 to 4 hours. This tour takes place on an elegant Berkshire Coach and covers the full 27-mile Park Loop Road, with four stops within Acadia National Park: Cadillac Mountain, Sieur De Mont’s Spring, Thunder Hole, and The Jordan Pond House. Each stop lasts around 20-30 minutes.

Adventure by Bus

The Rocky Mountain Conservancy Field Institute invites you to go on a remarkable journey through the breathtaking landscapes of Rocky Mountain National Park. These guided bus tours offer an unparalleled opportunity to explore the park’s diverse areas, including the iconic Trail Ridge Road, the serene Bear Lake Road, the Grand Lake, and the enchanting meadow areas where you can witness the elk rut during the fall season.

The comfortable 14-passenger bus ensures a relaxed and immersive experience, allowing you to soak in the park’s natural beauty. What sets these tours apart is the presence of the skilled naturalist guides who accompany you on each adventure. Their expertise and passion for the park add a layer of depth to your journey. These guides not only ensure your safety but also share their knowledge about the park’s rich flora, fauna, geology, and history, making each tour an educational and enlightening experience.

Red Bus Tours

The iconic Red Buses offer an ideal means to explore and gain a deeper understanding of Glacier National Park. Dating back to the 1930s, these vintage buses hold a special place in the park’s human history and heritage. Given the park’s predominantly vertical landscape, the roll-back tops of the Red Buses offer unobstructed views of the majestic mountains and the park’s signature Big Sky. The tour guides are seasoned park enthusiasts who are passionate about sharing their love for the park with visitors.

It’s worth noting that the fleet of 33 Red Buses in Glacier is considered one of the world’s oldest touring fleets, which means that the seating does not meet today’s standards. These buses can accommodate 16 passengers, with four people seated on bench-style seating.


Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you been on a National Parks bus tour? Are you planning a trip to a National Park and will you include a bus tour? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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Create a Bucket List of Local Adventures for 2024

bucket list of local adventures

There are so many fun things to do right in your hometown that, if you are like me and keep putting them off, they never happen. So, how about creating a “Local Bucket list of Adventures”? Not only will it beat off the local humdrums and send them packing, but there is also the bonus of having a great answer for guests who ask, “What can we do?”

Let’s get started creating your list of things to do, see and explore in your hometown. Come up with a list of activities for 2024 that have been on your someday over the Rainbow timeframe and get rejuvenated for living in your own place and time right now.

Ask Yourself This Question

“What things have I put off for a long time, but never made the time or effort to do them?”

The answers might surprise you.

It might be something easy, inexpensive and take just an hour or two to accomplish and yet… sigh, you never do it.

Local Adventures Can Be Ridiculously Small

One idea that I have wanted to do is to ride the local city bus. I’ve ridden buses before so it should be a ridiculously simple thing for me to do, but I haven’t done it here in Vancouver. Why not?

I guess I’ve built it up in my head as something hard and difficult. Which, of course, I know it’s not and yet… I don’t do it. And as a result, my chicken level meter keeps running a longer and longer tab. Funny how that works, right?

Here are a few “Small Adventures” you can easily do and while they may not make it on the 5 Star list of things to see and do locally… they could be adventures for you!

  1. Visit a local park you have never visited before.
  2. Try a new coffee shop and a new flavor of coffee.
  3. Visit a local boutique or shop that you think might be interesting.
  4. Love Farmer’s Markets? Try a different one. Every market has its own surprises.
  5. If you like to walk, pick a new trail or neighborhood to explore.
  6. Take a bus ride to a different part of your city.

Think Like a Tourist

Another way to start your bucket list of adventures is to think about what you would want to see, do, and experience if you traveled thousands of miles to a distant location.

I work at a small bookstore in our city’s national historic site that gets over a million visitors a year. Across from our shop is the visitor center desk. A new friend of mine works at that desk several days a week. She is retired, a dedicated traveler who normally spends three to six months volunteering at different parks around the country.

In the six months she has been here, she has visited more historic sites, local attractions, museums, beaches, parks, concerts, charity events and places to eat, drink and have a good time (on a budget) than I have in the eight years I have lived here. Visit my post, Tammy’s Travels to see how many local adventures Tammy has power-packed into her stay here in Vancouver, Washington.

Her motto? “Do All the Things!”

It’s all a mindset.

If you find yourself a bit bored… up your game and start creating your bucket list.

Find Some New Ideas for Your Bucket List

  • Google “Top Things to Do in [your city].
  • Google one or more of these: “Event Calendars [your city]”, “[Your City] Event Calendar,” “Events in [Your City],” and “Events near me.”
  • If you are in a large metro area, city, or popular destination, buy a local guidebook or check one out at the library. The authors spend hundreds of hours searching around corners and back streets to take you beyond the same old top things to do that get shared repeatedly by popular media.

Onwards to Even More Adventures!

  1. Local Museums – you may find small museums that don’t make the headlines. These are often run by passionate followers who will give you a personal tour of their collected treasures.
  2. Historic sites and markers – I had no idea how many there were in my area till I started my search and I bet you will find some as well. Visit the Historical Marker Database.
  3. Annual local events, city fairs, street fairs and even local businesses put on fun and affordable celebrations.
  4. Fundraising events featuring local talent, artists, and writers.
  5. And don’t forget your local library, schools, and college events.

Put It Together

For flexibility, I like using a small spiral notebook that will easily fit in my bag or glove compartment. At the back of the notebook, I list all the brainstorming ideas I come up with. Putting it at the end allows me to keep adding to the list of possibles till I make a decision to include or not.

The first two or three pages in the front, I leave to make a table of contents. This, of course, is optional, but I like to put each bucket list activity on a separate page in the notebook so that I can add details like a short description, dates, time, address, and cost, if any. Then I add the heading of that event to the table of contents.

As you do an activity, don’t forget to check it off your list and include the date you did it! Your bucket list becomes a mini diary as well.

After leaving the first few pages clear for adding headings, I then use the next 12 pages to add monthly activities. One page (front and back) for each month.

And… this might seem a bit overkill for a small bucket list, but I sometimes number all the pages that I can reference from the table of contents. Because it’s very likely that your 2024 Bucket list might be expanding and extending for years once you get started.

Now Go for It!

Don’t worry that you will run out of new things to put on your bucket list for next year. Once you start your list, more things will come to mind throughout the year. Some activities may be so much fun that they will be added to your bucket list every year because who said you only must do something “once” to qualify for an official bucket list.

Who wants an official bucket list anyway?

It’s absolutely your bucket list. You make the rules.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

How often do you explore your city/town and its tourist locations? What adventures can you share while exploring your local city and county? Please share in the comments to keep the inspiration growing.

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