Motoring up I5 North from Seattle to Vancouver takes about 2-1/2 hours. Beautiful evergreens and clean air will keep you company. article, photo article, photo

There are great minds in abundance in the Pacific Northwest.

Originally from Seattle, Yolanda Gail Devers is an American retired track and field athlete. A three-time Olympic champion for the United States Olympic Team, she is also an inductee of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.

She was once quoted as expressing, “Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.

San Francisco ballet principal dancer Frances Chung is from Vancouver. article, photo article, photo

Her life sacrifices, hard work, talent and dedication collectively show that she strongly believes in herself and what wonderful experiences she has shared with us all.

As a teen while competing in Switzerland, Frances won a scholarship that allowed her to spend the summer dancing in Boston. She was only 16.

After her exceptional work there, she was immediately offered a full-time position as a ballerina with the Boston Ballet, but she turned it down so that she could finish high school.

According to during their conversation with Ms. Chung, they relate, “During her senior year, Chung auditioned for 10 different ballet companies across the United States before she got the acceptance call from the San Francisco Ballet. She graduated high school and, at 17, left home for the first time. She’s been with the company for the last 12 years.”

Frances danced for four years before being promoted to soloist in 2005, then another four years until she was rewarded with becoming a principal dancer in 2009.

Be more dedicated to making solid achievements than in running after swift but synthetic happiness.…..A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Ms. Chung has danced many of the important roles performed by the elite ballerinas around the world. article, photo article, photo

As America’s oldest professional ballet company, San Francisco Ballet has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia.The San Francisco Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States.

Her employer delights in illuminating their pride for her exceptional resume. “Chung received the Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Achievement in Performance (Individual) for the 2013 Repertory Season. She was a finalist and prizewinner at the Prix de Lausanne in 2000 and received the top honor of a silver medal at the Adeline Genée Awards in London that same year.”

What makes her endurance so remarkable is the myriads of injuries that she has been touched by yet continues to flourish.

Understandably she has many admirers. article, photo article, photo

The intriguing artful San Francisco site 7× smiles, “We think we’ve fallen in love! Frances Chung is a principal dancer for the SF Ballet, and when this exceptionally talented artist isn’t rehearsing or performing in the Opera House, she’s making the most of living/eat/playing in our wonderful city.”

The popular and trend setting site loves her as well. “It’s no surprise that Frances Chung was recently promoted to principal at San Francisco Ballet. The petite, pretty young ballerina is solid. Chung is a surefire hit in punchy virtuoso roles, like the sprightly heroine of George Balanchine’s Tarantella, but she also exudes elegance and charm as the Sugar Plum Fairy or in Mr. B’s mysterious Emeralds.”

Great minds flourish in Vancouver. Let’s please travel there. article, photo article, photo

The geographically rich and bustling west coast seaport city in British Columbia, is among Canada’s densest, most ethnically diverse cities. A popular filming location, it’s surrounded by mountains and invites outdoor pursuits of all kinds, but also has thriving art, theatre and music scenes.

The Pacific gem has a population of approximately 603,500.

Vancouver is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life, and the Economist Intelligence Unit acknowledged it as the first city to rank among the top-ten of the world’s most livable cities for five consecutive years.

Vancouver has hosted many international conferences and events, including the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, UN Habitat I, Expo 86, the World Police and Fire Games in 1989 and 2009; and the 2010 Winter Olympics and 2010 Winter Paralympics which were held in Vancouver and Whistler, a resort community 125 km (78 mi) north of the city.

Like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, all west coastal wonder lands, it’s the type of place where growing up, when you are young, visit other cities with your family and while publicly polite, privately you thank the heavens that you grew up there and not the place you are visiting.

The popular global travel site agrees. “Cool neighborhoods, drink-and-dine hot spots and spectacular vistas: all good reasons why visitors fall for this lovely lotus land metropolis.”

Where do we begin? To speak about the endless pursuits in the scenic village is endless.

Let’s pick two spots.

Stanley Park is a magnificent 404-hectare park combining exceptional attractions with a mystical natural appeal. article, photo article, photo

You can have pleasant walks or cycle (rentals near the W Georgia St entrance) around the 8.8km seawall surrounded by a 150,000-tree temperate rainforest match nicely with totem poles that quietly speak to the past.

Then there is Kits Beach, one of Vancouver’s wonderful up close getaways.

Facing the English Bay, Kits Beach offers wide and sandy views.

We truly can understand why Frances loves to swim and jog. What a fantastic place to grow and be nourished.

It’s also a nice place to return home to.

In an interview with, Frances speaks about her return to Vancouver to perform while family and friends quickly snap up tickets.

It’s nice when your sacrifices, endurance and determination pay off on a grand scale and you get to perform in scenic San Francisco too.

~ ~ ~