The pathway through separation and divorce is never an easy one and even more so in the middle of a pandemic. In 2020 that’s exactly what SPH’s Jennifer Reed was facing when she decided to plan a trip for herself. She would be celebrating her milestone 50th birthday in January of 2023, so she chose the destination of her dreams: the Galápagos Islands.
One of Jennifer’s first decisions was how to navigate the islands. She looked for recommendations and found the M/Y Grace, a former fishing boat that served in World War II and was eventually rebuilt as a luxury yacht owned by Aristotle Onassis. He gifted it to Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco as their wedding gift, and they honeymooned on it in the Mediterranean. Housing a total of 40 people (16 passengers and 24 crew), the yacht has been fully restored to its 1950s glamour and would serve as the perfect vessel for Jennifer to see all that the Galápagos Islands have to offer.
“When I got to the plateau I literally burst into tears – there were thousands of birds.”
When Jennifer embarked, she was excited to meet fellow passengers and check out her home for the week. During that first day, she jumped onto some lava rocks and made her way to the top of a small cliff on Isla Genovesa - a horseshoe-shaped island in the northeast corner of the Galapagos. Jennifer shares: “when I got to the plateau I literally burst into tears – there were thousands of birds … I was totally overwhelmed by the scene, nature doing its thing exactly as it would if humans never existed and a glimpse of the life the rest of the planet might have if only we didn’t get in the way!”
None of the animals on the islands have ever experienced a natural predator, so they are completely unfazed by human presence and walk right up to people without fear.
Jennifer also swam in the Pacific Ocean where she was surrounded by fish and, during at least one excursion, sharks. The photos she captured of local wildlife, including sea lions and Nazca boobies, are now among the most treasured reminders of her trip.
“The coolest thing I discovered about myself is that I am capable of doing anything I want on my own.”
While she’s experienced several big adventures, this was the first one she planned and completed just for herself.
A trip of a lifetime is a gift no matter when one can take it but celebrating a 50th birthday is a perfect time to reflect on where we’ve been and how life’s twists and turns have brought us to the present.
“The coolest thing I discovered about myself is that I am capable of doing anything I want on my own,” Jennifer shares. “Your job and the things that you have to do every day are not the end-all, be-all of life.”
Jennifer’s next trip is coming in May of 2024, when she’s taking on Iceland and the Faroe Islands.
- Some Good News