I’m feeling reflective as I approach another birthday celebration. You know, considering what I’ve learned, loved and lost in this latest trip around the sun. There’s a lot to think about, but I feel pretty satisfied with the overall picture from my 50th year. There are moments I’d consider doing over and some things I wish I saw more clearly sooner, but it’s been a year well lived. That, to me, is both the goal and the reward. I am a very fortunate person.
I’ve collected experiences – visits in cities near and far, beaches along the Atlantic Coast, runs along lakes and rivers. Twice, I flew solo to spend long weekends in remarkably different, yet equally appealing, cities and I’m hungry to see more new places. I’m proud of my sense of adventure and confidence in negotiating travel alone. I can’t wait to live life.
“Work at being kind” is my takeaway for the year. Loving isn’t always easy; it can hurt and doesn’t always feel worth the resources it consumes. I’ve learned, though, that it always feel better to give than to receive, and love is no different really. My well isn’t bottomless, but it does refill.
My biggest personal loss this year was the death of my uncle. He was such a great traveler, a man passionately in love with his wife, a kind human being. He is missed, yet remains an inspiration and a reminder that true love is possible and that it is wrong to settle for anything less.
- Five hours and two quick flights later, it is possible to be parking your rental car on King Street.
- My curls look best when my hair is dirty and salt water and sand are my chosen hair products.
- Charleston has far more liberals than I expected. There were even Bernie stickers!
- Where to eat and where they worship are two things shared frequently by residents.
- Speaking of where to eat, grits, biscuits, cinnamon rolls and mac and cheese would be my downfall eventually. I’m a carb girl.
- I can change my clothes in a car like a boss.
- The humidity in Charleston in August is a whole ‘nother level. I hope I remember this when we get hit here in Albany by elevated levels of heat and humidity.
- Downtown Charleston is beautifully compact and so very walkable.
- It’s a swamp – not a criticism, just an observation. There is water everywhere.
- Dining out, going to listen to music and having a drink solo is far preferable to not getting to do those things because you’re traveling without company.
- Life is satisfying when what you feel on the inside is radiating out for people to take note of. Case in point, this message from my AirBandB host:
I was so thrilled to see all the ways in which you discovered Charleston! You totally amazed us with your level of independence. Loved it!
One of the roads taken on this trip.
Do you ever have a day or two or three when it feels like you must be doing something right in your life? I mean, how else can you accept the good fortune that you’re experiencing? It almost makes a person believe that old adage about how if you’re happy inside, you’re happy everywhere you are. There’s no other way to explain the feeling of loving everywhere you go.
This trip has been remarkable. As I sat facing the charm of Rainbow Row, I had a hard time processing how lucky I’ve been in Charleston. The rain cooperated and only came at times that had no bearing at all on my activities. That’s saying something considering it rained 3 of my 5 days there. The people I’ve talked to have been friendly, the drinks cold and the food terrific. I scored parking each time I needed to and only hit legitimate traffic once – and that was on a draw bridge. It couldn’t have been a better solo trip.
You know, I didn’t grow up expecting to ever be in a position where I could indulge my itch to travel. I’ve come a long way since my first trip to Florida with one of my dearest friend’s family when I had $50 in my pocket, and that only because my brother gave it to me as I left our house. Along the way I learned to travel inexpensively, meals from grocery stores and delis, low budget accommodations, lots of self guided walking tours…you get it. It was good practice and I learned a lot.
Memories were made and I’m heading home with what feels like a new piece in place in my life’s mosaic. What’s your next destination?
“So shut up, live, travel, adventure, bless and don’t be sorry”
– Jack Kerouac