Tag Archive | travel

Home is Where My Life Is

airplaneLast week at about this time, I was packing for a three-day excursion to see a good friend in Florida. On Monday morning in a driving rain, my brother saw me off at the airport for three sun-filled days in the sunshine state. Boy was I ready to go!

In October, one of my dearest friends and her husband decided to make a move back to their Orlando condominium they purchased twenty years ago, and as you might imagine, a lot of things have changed. Needless to say, they weren’t ready for the extreme growth of the area. The two-lane roads have morphed themselves into five lanes. Towns have sprawled, and the theme parks have doubled in size. Because of so many more residents and an abundance of tourists, you witness very creative lane changes on the highways which keep even good drivers on their toes.

All of this change for a person in her sixties has been rough on my friend. After I arrived, she told me my visit was as much for her mental health as mine, but like all solid relationships we picked up where we left off and enjoyed being together. She had a lovely bedroom for me to stay in and pampered me like a queen. I got the rest I needed, and she had a buddy to laugh with.

As the days progressed, I got my quota of sun, sand, and tropical foliage, and was ready to go home when Friday rolled around. It was nice not to have the responsibility of a caregiver for a few days, but I missed Ken and Ernie a lot and knew it was time for me to go home. It was comforting to Ken was fine at home with the help I arranged, so the next time I need a few days away, I can go without being alarmed about his welfare.

It’s also good to realize my dream of having a palm tree grow in my front yard is just that–a dream. The ninety degree weather was too hot for me, and my poor northern skin rebelled even with a sunscreen of 70! My true happiness is right at my front door, and I’m not seeking anything else at this point in my life.

I can travel to see the wonderful places this world offers, but I choose to be where I am. There’s no way to replicate my friends and family who make me who I am, and  I would never want to be the same place where Kay is right now, starting a new life in her sixties.

Eventually she will make friends in her new space, but forming new reciprocal relationships takes years.  I hope she’s up to the challenge.

Getting out of “Dodge”

travelI hope some of you noticed I took a hiatus from blogging. Being missed by someone is a compliment, so I guess I’m also being presumptuous you’re glad I’ve returned.

Grounded No More,” my seventh historical novel has been keeping me away, but this morning I put the finishing touches on it to go to my editor. I so enjoy historical fiction. I love researching other time periods to catch a glimpse of the people who lived those years. I’ve zeroed in on the World War II era because I find the sacrifices and hardships people endured amazing. I enjoy how people faced their fears and carried on in the face of adversity–particularly the women who were expected to become someone else in a blink of an eye. Through propaganda campaigns, they entered the workforce in all kinds of jobs, including some very dangerous ones.

The other fact that has kept me away from blogging is personal. I’ve been soul searching for some answers. Being a caretaker impacts a person in ways you never expect. As you might imagine, Ken’s Multiple Sclerosis can be trying at times. I must continually remind myself what he does is the disease and not him, but sometimes I drown myself in something artistic to put down my emotions of losing him bit by bit.

The winter has kept us both in the house longer than usual, so I haven’t been outside to start my spring clean-up and plant my flowers. We’ve been together 24/7 for over three years, and I need a respite, but going on such a journey has turned into an overwhelming task.

Because Ken would rather stay home than go to a care center, the quest is more difficult. I need to find him a qualified person to provide 24-hour care. When I expressed my frustration with the woman who acts as our coordinator, she said she’d work with the nurse and help me get this done. I guess it helps to whine once in a while.

Another part of my challenge is myself. My heart needs to stay home, but my head realizes without a break sometime in the near future, I might snap. My patience will wane, and I’ll do or say something I will regret. I equate the emotion to putting my little girl on the bus for kindergarten, only this time I’m the little girl.

My ordeal now boils down to letting go. When I must release my hold on something or someone I love, I need to take small steps, so when a girlfriend invited me to go “up north” with her for a weekend, I could consider her offer. I realize baby steps will be best for both Ken and me, so we’ll muddle through this first short separation, and if things go well, perhaps then I can plan a trip to Florida to visit my dear friend Kay–which was my original intention when I began this respite quest. I’m simply not ready for such a long separation.

Ken and I are lucky.  Through our relationship of nineteen years, we enjoyed many wonderful trips together. Timeshares in different parts of the country. A couple of cruises. Weekend getaways in quaint Bed & Breakfast places or swanky hotels. I am thankful for all of the good times, but I’m sad we will probably never travel together like this again.

 

Travel Time — Take It!

beach sceneAs  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.