As most of you have figured out by now, Ken and my life is rather simple. We no longer take exotic cruises or travel on airplanes to use the timeshare properties we once owned. We rarely get more than 25 miles from home. I’m so happy we took the opportunity to travel when he had the chance. Now contentment at home is what we enjoy. I don’t think we’d be satisfied to stay so close to home if we hadn’t taken the trips that we did. Our pictures and my journals allow us to live the great times over and over whenever we want.
Sometimes I’m sad that our traveling days are over, but then I think of my parents and grandparents. My Mom and Dad always dreamed about going to Hawaii on their 25th Wedding Anniversary. Just before the big day appeared on the calendar, my Dad had a massive heart attack and the life they led changed forever. My grandma only got to travel vicariously through travelogues that were shown at Memorial Hall because my grandfather refused to take an expensive trip. Luckily, my brother and his wife went to Hawaii for their 25th Wedding Anniversary and had a great time–only to have to say goodbye prematurely with her succumbing to colon cancer about a month ago.
I have never felt guilty for taking eight cruises with my girlfriends after I got divorced. The experience was traumatic, and I needed the getaway for my mental health. I didn’t have a full-time job, but I did have excellent credit, and the cost of the trips were reasonable because my friends were travel agents, and I went along as their companion.
The end result was two years of wonderful memories I wouldn’t have if I had been practical and waited for the “right” time. Through it all, I got to see most of the islands in the Caribbean, spent weeks in Florida, saw a magnificent sunset in the Miami harbor I will never forget, and enjoyed the English atmosphere of Bermuda. I was invited to the homes of my traveling companions in Maine and Boston, so I got a taste of New England.
I am so happy I had the opportunity to see a little bit of the world. Perhaps someday, I will be able to travel again, but right now, I’ll travel with the characters in my books.
My experiences taught me traveling makes a person’s world bigger. I got to know people from around the world and corresponded with many of them afterward. I snorkeled with the stingrays in Grand Cayman and floated along the current of the Palancar reef off the cost of Cozumel, Mexico. I bartered with the locals in Jamaica and learned what excellent salespeople they are! I climbed Mayan ruins in Cancun and walked hand-in-hand with a lover down 7-mile beach on white sand. I learned the electric slide line dance with the ocean swaying below my feet. I tried foods I never would have ordered in a restaurant because they would have been too expensive. I also tried local foods–cow foot, swordfish and Ackee (Jamaica’s national fruit), and Cuban red beans and rice.
My message is important. Don’t wait for the things you want in life. Explore. Experience. Enjoy. If I’ve learned anything, it is this: Don’t put your dreams on hold. Don’t live with regrets. If you really want to do something, go and do it. Don’t make excuses that you have to work or don’t have the money. Find the time and make the money. Life is much too precarious to wait for the “right” time. There’s a big world waiting for you, and there may not be a tomorrow.