Thursday, July 23, 2015

Trips of a lifetime..

Yesterday on Facebook, as usual, the memories from that day in years gone by popped up and low and behold- 3 years ago I was heading out to the Boundary Waters for that amazing canoe trip with my sister and niece and 3 other people who became my friends. Coincidentally, I was actually discussing that exact trip earlier in the day, so I was a little surprised to see it come up on my news feed.  That friend must have ESP, or else it is simply the right time of the year for thinking about it..... or it might merely be coincidental, like I said.  I prefer the whole ESP theory, that sounds much more fun and mysterious.....

It got me thinking about that trip, which indeed was one of my trips of a lifetime.  I did LOVE my trips to Florida and New York with the band/choir kids those three times,  I really did enjoy that whole thing.  I don't mind crowds, I loved being driven around and not worrying about transportation too much, and I enjoyed traveling with the kids, too.  Being a chaperone is a bit stressful at times, but it definitely had it's perks.  You will have to ask me in person about the perks.  HA!  But, as fun and exciting as they were, they are not in my top trips.

My college trips to Chicago and New York almost are in the top, and at one time would have been considered such.  They were brand new experiences and they were certainly exciting times where we did silly and somewhat stupid things.  I saw a tremendous amount of art, did a lot of walking and public transportation and partook in a little night life, but there wasn't a lot of depth to it, except of course for the art, which has stuck with me a long long time.

Those trips were easy.  I didn't have to think about much at all.  The meaningful adventures are the ones that have taken me so far out of my comfort zone that I couldn't see it while standing on a mountain.  The BW adventure absolutely did that.  I had trained for that canoe trip, worked darn hard at the gym to build my strength to be able to canoe like a champ.  I bought camping supplies for myself- a proclaimed motel camper.  I never have liked sleeping on the ground, and yet there I was!  I pushed through all of that. Of course one of the hardest and easiest things was to give up my phone for a week.  Though there were times I wanted to text someone to tell them something I saw or did, I really did not have a hard time not being connected.

My other trip of a lifetime, as you can imagine, is my Colorado trip.  Talk about lack of a comfort zone.  Flying.  Renting a car and driving around in a totally unfamiliar area and knew almost no one in the vicinity. Hiking mountains, experiencing the altitude, finding things to do that fit into a very wide range, that had to be close enough to drive to in an hour or so..... had to jam all the living into that 3 plus days that we could.  Experiencing those posted signs warning of what to do when you encounter rattlesnakes (eeeeeeeeeek- get the hell away from them) and mountain lions (if all else fails, fight back! yikes!).  All sorts of things that you notice and think about and pack away for future use.

These two trips were challenging in their own ways but brought the most spectacular rewards.  Of course the photography was outstanding, but transporting said photography equipment was something to deal with, as well as toting around all the gear that was needed for each.  The BW trip began my sojourn into more active and physical activities and adventures.  It is a journey I do not regret in any way.  I am tempted to say things like I wish I had sooner begun participating in the more active lifestyle that I have now, but I do not know that I could have.  I had not yet made that personal journey towards losing weight and gaining fitness, which later translated into eating and exercising in a way that enhances the life that I choose to live.  I had not yet discovered that I am indeed a brave person, and indeed an athletic person- I had yet to have others point it out to me.  I was not ready to see it.

But training at the gym and in a canoe gave me the confidence to take the trip.  Having my sister with me, who is very brave in my estimation, was also both comforting and energizing!  Not to mention being with my lovely niece, who rocked that trip like no body's business.  She was quite inspiring in her own 12  year old way.  Same thing with my Colorado week- I had someone who was just as excited as I was about this trip and is just as willing to push forward and try new things.

I booked a tour with my sister to Italy for next summer- through school, but I am decidedly not going as a chaperone.  I knew I needed to get on an airplane before I was on one for 10 plus hours.  I am so glad I did, it was so much fun, and I was grateful to have such a calm traveling partner.  Signing up for that trip was a HUGE step for me.  To go over seas, to fly, to enter a world where I won't know most of the language being spoken (though I am going to learn some basics) was just so frightening and so exhilarating!!   You know that this will be another one of the trips I will add to my lifetime favorite adventures.

Meanwhile, I continue to seek out new things or variations on a theme of things I love to do.  I find life is so much more satisfying if you step out of the safety of your own house and life occasionally.  It has made the summer go slow, and has made it so fulfilling.  Life has turned in some interesting ways lately- ha to say the least - and there really is so much good to find instead of focusing on the negative.  If you are open to it, amazing things can happen even if you are pushed in a different direction than you thought you needed to go.

Keeping your eyes open and your mind free of "shoulds and shouldn'ts" is a sure way to find the authentic people and joys in your life.

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