Traveling alone

I hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving. Each year at this time, I often think of my family that have left this Earth. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s it seems everything focuses on family and familiar traditions. Everyone talks about their kids and their parents. These discussions frequently remind me that I don’t have either. My mother died when I was a teen and my father when I was in my early 30’s. I’ll be honest and say I am a little jealous of people 60+ years old who say they’re going to visit mum, who’s in her 90’s. But I remind myself just as frequently, that you live with the cards you are dealt and make the most of it.

In August, my father’s sister (my godmother) passed to the next world. With her passing, I am aware that I am quickly becoming the “oldest” generation alive in my family. Needless to say with the big 50 approaching, I’m feeling older than my years. I’m calling it a mid-life crisis, even though I’m well passed mid-life (I don’t expect to live to 100). I want to get more out of life. That’s what makes what I’m doing exciting. I’m making larger footsteps in my journey and I’m finding it quite exciting.

So in this light, even though I know it is near the end of November, I have to tell you about another adventure that I had in October. It was a bittersweet journey that was extremely powerful for me.

My godmother’s memorial service was held in Florida in late October. Where she lived in Florida isn’t very convenient to airports and if I flew I would have to rent a car. It looked like the best opportunity to get to the services was to drive. Unfortunately, finding a travel partner wasn’t promising. So I made the decision to travel alone and make it a 5-day journey. I had never done this before, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

As it turned out, on the way to Florida, I was able to stop in SW Georgia to meet someone who was selling her collection of sewing machines. A friend of mine met me there and hauled the machines off to his house for me to pick up later.

My next stop was Florida. Before my godmother’s services, I put myself on a mission to see a live manatee. On a rainy Saturday morning, I found myself alone in a wonderful state park/zoo. I was mesmerized with this opportunity of watching the gorgeous animals and birds without the disturbance of other people (except the keepers). No kids screaming, or people talking, or competition for that fabulous photo opportunity. For 2 hours I was in heaven…and I got to see the manatee.

The next day I was on the road again to visit family in Savannah, GA. I really love that town and I love my cousin who lives there. I had a great time and the next day found myself on the road home. The 5-day journey was over.

Between my highlighted stops, I had a lot of time to be alone. I listened to upbeat music on my XM radio. I thought a million thoughts. Cried a few tears. I was awestruck by the beauty of the country-side which I drove. And I surprised myself, by how much I enjoyed my journey and being alone. Well not completely alone, I did pick up a hitchhiker at McDonalds who became my mascot for the road trip. Now that I’m home, I’m anxious for another opportunity for a road trip. Who knew, I would really like traveling alone.