The clothes are unpacked and the laundry done... the suitcase stowed in the garage... refrig stocked again with vittles. I'm home, getting reacclimated to the desert and being in my own bed after a week's whirlwind travel adventure to the East Coast initiated by the celebration and remembrance event for my recently departed dear friend/"older sister" Samara.
With four plane rides, along with boat, bus, train, and auto transportation thrown into the mix, I traveled first to Fort Lauderdale to join others in giving Samara a wonderful send-off via
Coastal Yacht Tours
. And, what a send-off it was! A small, intimate gathering of souls connected by Samara, Spirit, and love, aboard a yacht, imbibing champagne (along with appetizers lest you think we drank on empty stomachs), sharing photos, memories, and the impact Samara had on our lives; a delicious dinner of various seafood at a gourmet restaurant; and, on the ride back, singing, more sharing, tears, and setting our beloved friend free. Samara would've loved it -- right down to taking our shoes off and going barefoot!
After Fort Lauderdale, I visited a friend north of Tampa who I last saw 13 years ago when I visited the Big Apple for a post-wedding gathering; it was like no time had gone by. Of course we did have much to catch up on, and we had a delightful time doing so.
Via plane, then bus, I made my way to Boston and onward to Cape Cod (where I'd not been since college days) to visit with another NYC buddy I'd not seen in 14 years. And, it was the first time I'd been back in New England in far more many moons. Boy, the years really do whiz by, don't they? We dined at fine restaurants, her fashionista sister took me clothes shopping, and we walked the beach on the only sunny day that was to be. I even got to a yoga class and joined in a meditation and discussion meeting, experiencing a bit of the kind of life my friend now enjoys in retirement. All in all, I had a grand time being with folks who are truly my family (loving and supportive) -- and being near water for a solid week!
Despite logging so many miles in such a brief time, and considering it took me 15 hours to eventually get to Phoenix from The Cape (arriving home at 3:30 am Phoenix time), it was the most relaxing trip I've had in close to two decades! I quickly figured out why: in past years when I traveled, I was in my own business doing some sort of work while on "vacation" or I was a consultant whose last contract had ended and I was searching for a new one while on "vacation." In either case, I couldn't just chill out totally. However, this time around was different: I am working a contract that still has 6 months' left and so I was able to let go, be present, and go with the flow despite packing a lot into a little bit of time. No doubt having had some inner profound shifts recently contributed to this new experience too. I relaxed and was rejuvenated as a vacation is supposed to do.
Definitions of "vacation" as per
- "a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday"
- "freedom or release from duty, business, or activity."
Yes, I enjoyed freedom from my usual life. There is a whole world out there, and it was gratifying to be experiencing it once again and charging up the soul batteries in the meanwhile. It was a really important learning for me to take time away from the usual life I lead no matter how much I might enjoy it, no matter that since I work a contract "No work, no pay."
As it always turns out to be the case, relationships were the most important part of this travel adventure. And as is also the case, there is a blessing in every situation: although the initial reason for this trip was to say good-bye to my friend, I got to meet other loved ones, visit friends from NYC days, be near water, be nourished emotionally and spiritually, and more. I am so grateful.
Since summer is traditionally a time of vacationing, what have you got planned to replenish your soul?