Browsing Tag

Travel

Places

Making a start

May 3, 2017

What does the Grand Canyon have to do with Cornelia and Emily’s trip to Europe?  Nothing, actually.  But before I head to England and officially start the adventure, I am making a four-week cross-country trek from Los Angeles to New York, stopping in various cities to meet with those who knew Cornelia and Emily, along with visiting some of the girls’ old stomping grounds, and touring a bit of Quebec, where the girls first sailed from and then returned to a couple of days later, after the ship they were traveling on ran aground before it ever made it out of the St. Lawrence River.

So for these first few days of the big adventure, instead of boarding passes, deck chairs and dressing for dinner, my travels are more about open roads, stopping for gas station chicken and staying in motels along old Route 66.

Yesterday was the first time I had ever been to the Grand Canyon, and those few hours left me wanting to come back and really explore the place.  My friend Allen is right – pictures can never do justice to the magnificence of what is in every way a true wonder.  With the brief time I had at the park, I walked the South Rim trail, and found a quiet spot to just sit and really look at the rocks and cliffs.

Some of the best advice I ever read was that being present in the moment is as effective as meditation for calming the mind and lifting the spirit.  And yesterday, sitting on a rock at the Grand Canyon seemed like a perfect place to remind myself to start practicing being present.  A few deep breaths was all it took to start clearing my head.  The stresses of the last few weeks – sorting out details of the trip, packing, moving – fell away into the past.  The noise of thoughts about upcoming plane trips and appointments was quieted.  I was able to sit and really experience the moment, enjoying the feel of the light, cool breeze and the warm sun as I studied the colors and patterns of the canyon and watched the wispy clouds.

It reminded me of childhood, of lying in the grass with friends, gazing at the clouds, working out what each formation looked like, while the sky slowly changed colors as the sun went down.

If only we could, as adults, have moments like that every day.  There would be no need for blood pressure medication, I am certain.

Before I left, there was one last stop to make:  the park gift shop.  This is something I should mention up front, and you can consider it my pledge to you.  Wherever my travels take me, if there is a gift shop, I will be visiting it, and reporting my findings.  Because there is just something terribly alluring, almost intoxicating, about a museum store or tourist attraction gift shop that just calls to the traveler.

The shop at the Grand Canyon was, not surprisingly, filled with beautiful photographs of the canyon, reproduced on everything from playing cards to posters.  But to me, the coolest item was a bandana printed with wilderness survival tips.  And all proceeds go to benefiting the park.

It’s time to pack up and begin the drive from Gallup, New Mexico to Elk City, Oklahoma.  Will check in again soon.

 

People Places

But before I go…

April 26, 2017

It’s almost time to go.  To start what hopefully will be a great adventure.  And while I am regularly having moments where I am so excited that I can hardly stay in my shoes, there is also a bittersweet side to the journey.  And that is having to say some goodbyes.

In fact, saying farewells is my only real worry about my upcoming travels.  For it seems that it doesn’t take long, when you get to a place, to set down roots and make friends you want to keep forever.

It happened when I traveled and lived abroad in my youth.  More recently I experienced it when I went back to live in my hometown for a few years.  And now, after only fourteen months here in the marina, I’m finding it sad to leave, to say goodbye, even if it’s just for a while.

“Home is wherever you hang your hat” is one of my favorite expressions. It has always reassured me, when I have given into my wanderlust, and uprooted myself from someplace, that I wasn’t really changing anything fundamental about my life.  Just my surroundings would be different.  I wasn’t losing anything.  Turns out, that’s not exactly the case.

While I know that an exciting new chapter of my life awaits, I can’t help but feel the loss of this cozy little home I’ve had for the last year.  It seems incomprehensible that the people and things which are currently part of my little world, my routine, are shortly to disappear from my daily life.

I will miss lunchtime swims with web designer extraordinaire Theresa Galido, where talk of work or anything stressful is strictly verboten.  I will miss the sinfully delicious aromas continuously wafting from chef Derrick Fox’s apartment two doors down.  I will miss hearing the breathtakingly beautiful voice of Samantha Fly rehearsing a song next door.  I will miss the joyful greetings from Rocco, Piper and Rebel, my neighbor dogs, whom I see almost daily in the hallway with their human moms, all of whom are amazing, warm and wonderful women I am honored to call my friends.

C.W. Gusewelle, a legendary columnist for The Kansas City Star, once wrote, “Home can be more places than one.  The pity is having to choose.”  So very true.  I would only add that it is a blessing to have such a problem.

It is the people, the community, that make a place a home.  And though it is tough to say goodbye, it gives me comfort to know that, just as I have in the past, when I find myself back in this corner of the world, I will reconnect with these dear friends, and I shall be home.  So while I still firmly believe in the adage that home is wherever you hang your hat, life has shown me that there is more to it than that.  Home is wherever you find loved ones.