I am a retired preschool teacher from Bemidji, Minnesota, and I live in Kā‘anapali, Maui, all winter. I am an active volunteer in both communities and my huge appetite for travel has taken me to many of the world’s countries. My method of solo travel affords me opportunities to explore each destination and its culture at my leisure. Often that means viewing and appreciating its art. Exposure to unique and diverse art forms has developed my love of art in all its various forms.

When my husband was alive, we traveled all over the world. I would have to think of the few countries that we have not visited. Lee was a college professor with a passion for new places and a wonderful sense of humor. After a health problem robbed his ability to walk and talk, we figured out how to keep seeing the world. My daughter, Leeann, was able to share those adventures with us.

For most of his life, Lee was a cross-trained athlete and served on the Olympic committee. Before the Bejing Olympics, we spent six fabulous weeks exploring China.

Transitioning to solo travel was not as hard as I thought, because Lee and I were so good at planning itineraries and being flexible on the road.

I share a passion for seeing the world. If you do too, I recommend travel as a rewarding pastime. I have found that people are much friendlier in real life than they are in the news, books or the movies.

Every February, I stay home on Maui to assist with the Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational event. This unique event is a tremendous asset to our community by bringing world-class artists here. Our local residents and seasonal guests get a front row seat to watch them paint the beauty of Maui. I live to watch the artists select a subject, set up the easel, create the painting, and frame and hang the finished product. At the art shows I get to greet all the families, visitors and collectors. It’s such a joy to do.

There is also a free art lecture one evening by a famous art museum curator about “famous art fakes” and a full day of outdoor painting for Maui school children. For all of us who love art and enjoy watching the creative process, being a volunteer is big fun. Feb. 16 through 24, you can find me watching plein air artists on West Maui — and greeting visitors. Here or abroad, art and culture enriches my life.