There should never be a hard-and-fast Best Before Date when it comes to realizing your dreams. You do things when it's natural, when the timing is right for you, whether it's conjugating verbs in a new language ("Me llamo Douglas, por favor") or re-learning to skate. (Personally, if you dream of the latter, I wouldn't wait until mid-life. Weak ankles can be a bummer.) Let me introduce my cousin Carol. That's her below, in front of the Taj Mahal, India. She's a brave soul, and a smart one. A rarity, Carol has got the left and right sides of the brain working. She reads, she writes, yet she's also good at numbers. Practical on many fronts, she also dreams, in particular of travel. Carol doesn't futz around when it comes to realizing those travel dreams. Snapshot from India [caption id="attachment_2833" align="aligncenter" width="259" caption="My cousin Carol living the dream in India: Taj Mahal, Agra"] [/caption] Carol is currently on an extended leave-of-absence from her job. To call her a globe-trotter is putting it mildly. In the last year she's been to Antarctica, Argentine, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, various other South American countries, not to mention side trips to Ireland, Scotland and England. (I'm sure I've missed a few countries!) Right now she's in India covering, so I think, the length of the country. So hats off to Carol for realizing her dreams. However, and when you're dealing with family there's frequently a 'however.' Yesterday was Ground Hog's Day. Here, at home in Canada, we were not enjoying the sunny temperatures and blue skies reflected in Carol's photo. Meanwhile, same day back at the ranch [caption id="attachment_2817" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Same day in Toronto: This is what Carol was missing"] [/caption] It was bitterly cold and snowy. Schools were shut down, highways were closed, and many of us "enjoyed" a snow day. Even the BBC covered the blizzard. So it wasn't without a dose of envy that I received the above photo of Carol looking happy as a clam in India, where temperatures ranged anywhere from 25 to 33 Celsius (if not higher in some parts). I looked out my window in Toronto, where it had dipped to -17 at some point in the day, and watched a snow plow ram a snow bank (repeatedly). Ah, well, mustn't grumble. Perhaps it's time to plan my next trip. I've got Carol's blog to inspire me in the meantime. And be sure to check out her Shutterfly gallery Carol On The Road. If you are curious about sabbaticals, and how people like my cousin manage to do it, check out The Career Break Site. And, to all, a Belated Happy Ground Hog's Day. I hope yours was toasty warm.