2018 has been a stellar year for my luggage.
The saying goes, “If I had money to travel, you’d never see me again.”
I’ve made it my life’s motto.
I live to see new places and have found that my melancholy spirit is best soothed with a change of scenery.
I seem to need it. Actually need to get away from life as I know it, from time to time.
Not only does it refresh me mentally, it sparks some creativity. Something that needs new life breathed into it, on occasion.
Mississippi, despite it’s reputation for simply being fat, stupid, and racist, is a lovely place to call home. We have rolling hills and thick forests. Babbling creeks and long, winding rivers. It’s the center of my universe, but it’s not the entire universe.
This year, I’ve been to either side of this country. Something, honestly, I thought I’d never do. I never once thought I’d dip my toes in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, let alone within the same year.
Never say never.
I’ve seen both the Carolinas. Visited my beloved Mobile. Took a girl’s trip to Florida. Rested in Tennessee on a long drive home from retrieving the girl child. Spent a week in SoCal.
Closer to home I’ve spent some hours in Vicksburg, the River City. Spent a few nights in Biloxi. Natchez.
Coming up, we have a weekend in New Orleans for a work retreat.
Some of these miles were for work, but mostly not. And I’ve enjoyed them all. Each one. The time sitting in conferences and the time exploring a new city. Eating fried oysters on the gulf and sampling fresh Guacamole in San Diego.
Watching the sun rise in South Carolina. Watching it set on Coronado Island.
The time spent with my daughter, my friends, my mother and sister, my cousins, my husband. The time alone. It has all wrapped me in beautiful memories that I will carry for a lifetime.
My heart, as I reflect on all of the places my eyes have seen this year, is full of overwhelming gratitude.
I used to feel so stuck in this place. I go to work, day in and day out, to a job I love with people I adore. I come home to a family that is everything to me. And yet, I have this wanderer’s soul. This need to see other.
This year, I have. Mardi Gras parades, the Sunset Cliffs, monuments of history, vast oceans, mountains, rivers. I have felt sand between my toes and a chilly wind nip my face. I have tasted. I have heard. I have seen.
I don’t cling to the notion that all years of my life can be so full of adventure. Limited time off and limited finances definitely provide limitations to travel.
But the memories will sustain me. They already do. I’ve learned to not doubt that I will see more of the beautiful places my heart longs to explore. The dream is within my reach.
In the meantime, between adventures, I remember.
The wistful heart turns thankful.
The mundane becomes bearable.
And possibility is born anew.