Susan Shepherd, a retired banker turned yoga teacher, was our Member in the Spotlight in September 2016. She left the end of October for a 3-month journey to India, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia.

As I complete my two month journey through Asia I reflect on how travel not only increases our knowledge on different cultures but widens our perspective on what is and is not important.

These new perspectives can help us change some of our habits or even create new ones. Below are 10 of my top new perspectives:

10 - I find it perfectly normal that everything is covered in a thin layer of dust.
9 - Instead of being offended when people ask to take a selfie with the me as the token white person, I'm starting to pose with them and wondering what to charge them.
8 -  I not only know how to use a dipper and bucket but don't complain when the hotel doesn't have hot water.
7 -  I think it’s perfectly reasonable that cows, goats, dogs and monkeys are outside of shops or on train platforms.
6 -  I have an inexplicable urge to use an ATM if the queue is short.
5 - I'm able to hold my place for a train seat or in a line up with 50 plus other people pushing and shoving for the same.
4 - I ask to have more sugar because the chai isn’t sweet enough.
3 - I bargain better than the locals for a good price.
2 - I no longer think my life is going to come to an abrupt end every time I get in a rickshaw / tuktuk or try to cross the street.
1 - And the number one reason I think I've been in Asia too long.... I can’t wait to get home so I can plan my next trip back.

If you want to learn more about Susan's journey, visit her blog

One of our members suggested that I talk a bit about a charity close to my heart, Sleeping Children around the World (SCAW). I first heard of this charity many, probably 30, years ago when my mother donated a bedkit in my name. Every Christmas since then she has continued supporting SCAW and I have looked forward to receiving the picture of the child who has received my bedkit.

SCAW is a Canadian charity based in Toronto. It was founded by Murray and Margaret Dryden 47 years ago. SCAW travelling volunteers distribute bedkits to boys and girls, ages 6-12, of any religion in underdeveloped and developing countries.
Bedkits typically consist of a mat or mattress, pillow, sheet, blanket, mosquito net, a clothing outfit and school supplies. Bedkits are locally produced providing employment for families in the country and contributing to the local economy. Currently there are 14 distributions annually with about 5,000 bedkits distributed at each distribution.

To date, more than 1,400,000 bedkits have been given to needy children.

A donation of $35 buys one bedkit.  Every penny of every $35 donation goes to the bedkit. Because of this, the charity proudly says that they are “The 100% Charity”.  All administrative costs of the charity are covered by a legacy fund set up by the Drydens. Travelling volunteers are responsible for paying all their expenses.

It had been a long-held wish of mine to be able to volunteer with this organization and, now that I am retired, I have been able to fulfill that wish. I made my first trip with SCAW in September, 2015 when I was lucky enough to be chosen to go to Sri Lanka.  It was a life-changing and incredibly rewarding experience.  In January, I will be going to Kolkata, India with them, a trip I am eagerly awaiting. On this trip, 5,000 more children will receive bedkits and I’ll witness firsthand what a profound difference SCAW makes to the lives of these children.

To donate and to learn more about the charity and the countries it serves, go to  If you would like to donate but not online, I would be happy to process donations on your behalf.

Susan Simpson


 Our home in the Rockland area was burglarized in September 2016.

Police were very surprised as break-ins in the area of Rockland are rare. In addition, our house is at the end of a panhandle lot and not visible from the road. That said, our house was targeted. We had alarm stickers on the doors and windows, but no actual alarm system. The burglars broke the frame of our French doors and proceeded to carefully go through the house stealing: all small electronics (including my laptop and external back-up drive!!), 90% of my husband’s clothes, sterling silver items, all medications, some jewelry and many other items – all small enough to pack into our two large suitcases. They even took time to eat a gallon of ice-cream and drink bear and juice.

Hopefully this will never happen to you.

The following are my suggestions, those made by the VicPD Reservists who did a security audit of our place, inside and out, and from the CFUW Victoria membership:

• Have an alarm system – this will stop them from spending the hours they must have spent at our house
• Take pictures of everything you have, to be able to prove ownership to the Insurance Company
• Make a back-up of your computer and keep it off-premises
• Put a shatter-proof film on any outside doors that have windows
• Have 2 to 3 locks on each door, at least one deadbolt
• Keep drapes closed on windows that are at eye-level when you are away
• Minimize privacy hedging so that neighbours can see any unusual activity
• Leave lighting on above doors when away (LED lights are most cost-effective)
• Ensure that motion-detector lights are out of reach and cannot be unscrewed
• Have lights on timers when you are away
• Borrow an engraver from Vic PD to engrave your identity on electronics
• Form a Neighbourhood Watch/Block Watch group and invite local police to speak at it
• Inform your neighbours when you will be away

Kathleen Kirkpatrick

My name is Susan Shepherd and I’m a retired banker turned yoga teacher. The end of October 2016, I'm leaving on a 3-month journey to India, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia.  As part of this journey, I have plans to blog and perhaps eventually turn my writings into a book.

The proposed working content of the blog / book is around
"What Women Want to talk about?”

To this end, I’ve started a list of “themes” that my girlfriends and I talk about. So to list a few:


* Choices and mistakes we have made
* Roles we take on – mother, wife, caregiver
* Hardships & heart breaks we have suffered
* Being alone and lonely
* Death and grieving

What I’m looking for:

Women who believe they have an interesting perspective on how we transform & transition through all the twists and turns in life – successfully or not – doesn’t matter – its just a conversation we can have together where your name will be held in strict confidence.

If you are interested and have the time to get together for an hour or two, please contact me at

Also, if you are interested in following me while I go on my Eat, Love, Pray journey, you can find me at / or on FaceBook at Hummingbird Yoga Studio.