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Icelandic white and red horses

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The Art of Travel

World Traveler Building 'Portfolio' of Beauty and Wonder

During my world travels, I’ve had the privilege of assembling a priceless portfolio of paintings. No, not a physical collection of paintings. These “paintings”—or visual memories, if you will—are images lovingly gathered in my mind of the many and diverse people, places and things I have encountered on journeys taken on foot or by car, train, plane and/or ship.

The Art of Travel—for traveling is an art—can be as beautiful as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa hanging in The Louvre in Paris or as confusing as a paint on a canvas blown on by a straw. 

Just in my 23 years of being in Oklahoma plus 21 in the travel industry, my mind’s portfolio has filled many pages.

One of my most memorable trips was sailing around South America’s Cape Horn on a Celebrity Cruise Line ship. The 14-day journey started in Chili and ended in Buenos Aires. Sailing Cape Horn is both dangerous and exciting, with some comparing it to climbing Mount Everest. We visited museums and historical sites at all the ports of call prior to actually turning around the cape.

The paintings and pictures of the many shipwrecks that resulted in agony and defeat featured at these sites will make your head swim and give appreciation to the fact you were not sailing in a wooden ship. In one museum, we found a pencil sketching by Van Gogh. We were up at 4 a.m. to sit on the deck as we started the turn, our captain reminded us that there would be rough seas, and there were. I was so glad we were on a large passenger ship and equally as happy when the voyage around Cape Horn was completed safely. 

On another adventure quest, my husband, Bentley, and I stayed in the Bovey Castle in England. It was like walking back in time; what a beautiful picture this trip painted in my mind! We took a stroll along a hedge that was supposed to be two miles long; six or seven miles later, we went through a gate into a 14th-century cemetery. After reading headstones for over an hour, we left to have a pint at the Ring of Fire Tavern.

Italy, especially Rome, will always be my most favorite place to visit; “paintings” from these visits probably fill a quarter of my collection. In October of 2016, our company composed a customized trip to Rome for our church, St Andrew’s Catholic Church of Moore, with the Globus Family of Brands. We had the most wonderful guide, Armando, who arranged visits to the Four Major Papal Basilicas of Rome and a rare visit to the Pontifical North American College, where two young friends were studying to become priests.

The timing of the trip was coordinated with the 2016 Holy Door Jubilee. We entered the Holy Door of St. Peters Basilicas early in the morning. Very few were in the building, so we were able to stand close to Michelangelo’s “Pieta.” Father Jack celebrated Mass for us at the Alter of St. John XXIII. The next Jubilee of The Holy Doors will be in 2025. Another beautiful setting that contributed to a moving memory.

Another pleasant memory that is painted in my mind was implanted while traveling to New Zealand and Australia. While in New Zealand, we went out on an America’s Cup racing yacht sponsored by Emeritus Airlines. I was able to take the helm of the yacht for a little while; the captain gave me a very awkward grin when I told him that my husband rarely let me drive the car with him in it.

Another great adventure destination is Iceland. That country’s majestic horses are a beautiful breed native to the land of ice and fire. Unlike horses in our country, the slightly built horse is resilient to the elements and sleeps laying down.

A tour I believe everyone should experience is the Beaches of Normandy. To this day, when I think of the events on the beaches, I get cold chills. One evening, as we stood near the Americans’ Cemetery as they lowered the flags and played taps, I swear you could feel the spirits of the men and women. 

Most recently, we sailed on the Regent Seven Seas Explorer during the holiday season. Regent Seven Seas is the world’s most luxurious cruise lines. On this all-inclusive vacation, we enjoyed a balcony suite with a full-size bathtub, which made me happy. 

If you are seeking a trip that will paint tons of memories, try a Rocky Mountaineer Train Tour across the Canadian Rockies. We were wined and dined in dome Gold Leaf car service. We had the rare opportunity to see a “white” brown bear, which are also called Spirit Bears.

We have sailed around the Hawaiian Islands on The Pride of America. While in Honolulu, I will never forget attending the dedication of the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor. At the end of dedication, the announcer said, “You are dismissed, men of the USS Oklahoma”; taps were played, and young cadets walked away from behind the pillars at the memorial. It was breathtaking. When you go to Honolulu, be sure to plan time to visit Ford Island at Pearl Harbor, where the USS Oklahoma Memorial is located.

Many of our trips include family tours or voyages. This past May, we spent a week in Kauai in a lovely condo on the beach with my daughter and her family. One day, we drove the Waimea Canyon scenic route; the next day we took a snorkeling catamaran tour to Na Pali coast. 

As I peruse my personal Arts of Travel memories, I feel blessed to have had the fortune to visit so many wonderful places around the world. Let me suggest that you plan and take that adventure, cruise or tour that you have been dreaming of. Paint your own Travel Masterpieces—the memories will last forever.

Bonnie J. Hedges is vice president of sales and marketing for Travel Leaders/Bentley Hedges Travel (,(405) 237-3333.

  • Bentley and Bonnie Hedges in Iceland
  • One of Bonnie Hedges' favorite travel destinations is Rome. Pictured: Michelangelo's 'Pieta' in St. Peter's Cathedral II.
  • Icelandic white and red horses
  • Bonnie highly recommends the Rocky Mountaineer Train Tour across the Canadian Rockies.
  • The Hedges' most recent trip was to beautiful Kauai.