Many of you know that in August my only son went off to college. Ralph and I took the opportunity to spread our own wings and ventured off to Greece. Our only real plan was a week long sailing trip around the magical Greek islands. Besides that, we didn’t have a clue where our adventure would lead, nor did we have plane tickets home.
Our travels took us to places on the map that were beyond my wildest dreams and reminded me of a part of myself that had been dormant for too long, while I navigated motherhood, career building and playing by the rules.
It wasn’t easy for me to bend those rules, being a first-born Virgo can be somewhat of a curse. Old habits die hard.
I had to extract every coaching and yogic tool I knew to quiet the fears, stand firm on the second-guessing and stand proudly behind the radical departure from the natural order of things. I even missed a family reunion for the sake of staying true to my own heart’s desire. Now that’s brave.
We traveled abroad for over two months, wearing the same clothes over and over. I didn’t wear make-up and went almost 3 months without a haircut or color. I had no choice but to deviate from my healthy and very boring diet. We planned as we went, sometimes taking the advice of people we met along the way (my favorite part) or standing at the ferry terminal and determining which port seemed appealing (and least expensive to get to) at that moment. I drank instant coffee and cheap wine and didn’t buy anything that I didn’t absolutely need. On some nights, I ate raisin bran for dinner. I wish I could say I detoxed digitally, but that’s not true. Maybe next trip.
We met fun and interesting people from all over the world and learned that our adventure, although puzzling to most of our American family and friends, was a completely natural and necessary part of the human experience in other cultures. In Australia, this is known as a “walkabout” and it’s common practice at various stages of life when one gets that “antsy” feeling, sometimes known as a midlife crisis. We felt as though a weight had been lifted! So, we’re not crazy! After 18 years of parenting, being ultra-responsible and diligently contributing to our retirement accounts, we were craving something new, exciting, inspiring and yes, just a little bit crazy. So, off we went.
Unlike the people we met on our travels, here in America, many people may feel that taking an unplanned, open ended trip at this stage of life is unheard of. Apparently, these are our ‘wealth building years’ and we should be working our asses off. Before our departure we heard expressions of concern, doubt and bold assumptions such as:
“You can’t do that!”
“You’ll wind up homeless!”
“You’re a couple of 50 something hippies.”
“What will you do about your mail?”
“You must be independently wealthy.” (this one is my favorite)
Turns out the above may or may not be true – but we don’t care. We had the time of our lives, and Alissa got our mail!
We’ve only just begun. The next part of our journey is a continuation of the walkabout (as we now affectionately refer to this stage of our lives) to keep the momentum going and to determine what’s next with a fresh perspective. This adventure has pumped new life into our relationship and into our LIFE. We can’t stop now. The hit of inspiration we have been graced with is exactly what these two hippies needed to Keep on Truckin!