The Vacation That Changed My Life

I had run my first marathon a couple of years before. However, I had not sustained that fitness level. My eating habits reflected the depression I was experiencing following the breakup of my thirty year marriage relationship, so I set out to get back in shape. After an intense three months of diet and exercise, I felt good about reaching my goals, and I decided to reward myself.

RC Radiance of the Sea in Glacier Bay

RC Radiance of the Sea in Glacier Bay

My first thought was to eat a big steak dinner, which I scaled down to a deluxe hamburger to stay within my food budget. I topped my food fantasies with the idea of gorging myself on a homemade banana cream pie. Of course, these gastronomic misadventures were what put me on the weight-loss path to begin with. When I asked myself what I really wanted, it hit me. There were two things I had never done and always wanted to do: 1) visit Alaska, and 2) take a cruise. I could accomplish both at one time! Since I was unattached, I researched singles cruises. As it happened a singles group had openings on a cruise that July which fit with my vacation schedule. Sharing a stateroom with another single was a great way to save money, so I booked it.

View of Juneau from Mt. Roberts

View of Juneau from Mt. Roberts

As people signed up, we introduced ourselves to one another via email. I learned quickly that more women cruise than men. Of the sixteen people in our group, thirteen were women. Although I did not mind the odds, I was a bit nervous thinking I was older than most members of the group. Just to make sure I was putting my best self forward, I bought some new dress clothes. I also had my hair styled including dying out the gray. I was ready.

The first evening on the cruise was a social mixer/cocktail hour. All but one person showed up at the appointed hour. I knew who was missing because we had all exchanged introductory emails. When she finally showed up I approached her and said, “Hi, my name is Mike. You must be Florence.” (Under duress I am now fast forwarding past all the mushy stuff.)

Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska

Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska

We decided to stay in touch after our cruise. Florence lived in Glendale, California. I was in Olympia, Washington. We maintained a long distance relationship for awhile, which was stressful. She took vacations in Washington with me (and filled my freezer with home-cooked meals). I visited her at her home in Las Vegas. I met lots of her Italian family at Thanksgiving. We decided then that we should be together, and by Christmas she and I had a home together in Olympia. The rest, as they say, is history.

All this occurred in 2005. Florence and I were married in 2007. I retired in 2011, and we have been traveling the world together ever since.

I had never before used “Hi, my name is Mike” as a pickup line. Since I am batting 1.000 with that line I do not use it anymore. Thus, my perfect record remains intact. 🙂

living in Mexico


35 comments on “The Vacation That Changed My Life

  1. What a touching story! You and Florence are lucky to have found each other. I too am divorced, and after many years of being alone met my current husband, Paul. We’re very happy. Celeste. 🙂

  2. It’s a beautiful story. I want the ‘mushy’ stuff please.

    • I was being discreet knowing my in-laws and my daughters read my blog. I would not want them to get any crazy ideas about our adventures aboard ‘The Love Boat.’ 🙂

      • I agree it is always difficult knowing some people in your audience know read your stories and genuinely know you. I sometimes find that when writing about my family! Anyway, I loved your ‘Love Boat’ story. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. Sweet story Mike! Not all of those stories turn out so well. You got lucky, in many ways. 😉

  4. You happened to choose the simplest and best pickup line, one which I have used as well (my name is the same, so that helps).

    • As I look back, I am glad I didn’t try to use this pickup line too much when I was younger, or I certainly wouldn’t be batting 1.000 with it now. Thank you for commenting, Mike.

  5. Teri Karl says:

    Beautiful story.

  6. Awww! Gave me chills. I love your story.

  7. CrazieTown says:

    Great story and wonderful experience. I think the second time around, we manage to get it right, don’t we? Thanks for stopping by and giving me a LIKE!

  8. says:

    what a fun concept for a blog! i will be following along!May I ask how you found me and why you visited and why you :”liked it”?
    And the all important question, will you come back?

    • Our common thread was your post was also freshly printed in the ‘Grandchildren’ category. I like to see what others like me have to say. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading.

      • I hope you are really enjoying those grandchildren1 i have mine everyday after school now and often before it lets out as they both have had some sickness.
        We plan a big egg dyeing and painting party for Thurs afternoon. I am going to do my best to remember to take the pictures for the blog!

      • The holidays are the best, and the photos are a great way to remember these fleeting years.
        Thank goodness for Skype so I can visit remotely with my grandson.

  9. reocochran says:

    I am so glad that I went back to comment now. Your love story echoes some of the ones I have been told and shared on my blog. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and am glad that you have your happy ending, shared is always better!

  10. What stunning photos! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  11. brickthomas says:


    You’re a wise man – quitting while you’re ahead. Congratulations on your perfect game.

  12. jjbegonia says:

    What a wonderful and uplifting story…All it takes is one decision, to change your life! Thank You for visiting my blog yesterday, too : )


  13. What a sweet story and a great ending. So happy for you both. It took a lot of courage to make that step, but what a great reward! Thanks for visiting my blog! Brenda

  14. What a great and charming story! You have a lot of courage, charm and humor. I’m so happy you were rewarded for it!

    Beautiful photos! I loved my Alaskan cruise, too. Yours was especially great, because you met Florence.

  15. avrilbetts says:

    Thanks for liking my blog, this is a nice story

  16. A success story in favor of “singles” cruises! Great. I could never do it, but kudos to you! Thanks for stopping by my blog, too.

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