Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Exotic Journeys


Last Friday C and I took M to Logan Airport and waved goodby as he sauntered into the international terminal, on his way to a semester in Copenhagen. I'd strongly encouraged M to do whatever it took to study abroad, knowing that there are few opportunities in life when anyone will invite you to live in a foreign country for several months, let alone give you financial aid to do it, and I was thrilled he picked Denmark, land of 1/4 of my ancestors and seemingly really cool place. I think I was looking forward to his trip almost as much as he was. Then we got to the airport, and I realized how much I'm going to miss him. It's been one thing for him to be at college an hour away from home, even if we don't see him all that often, but six time zones and an ocean away feels very, very far. This is the stuff of parenting, though, is it not? The push and pull of holding close and letting go. And I wouldn't have it any other way. All those years of hard labor were leading toward this moment, helping him build his wing muscles so he can fly away from the nest.

I didn't have much time to spend feeling sentimental about my biggest baby being on another continent, with a trip of my own to get ready for. I'm heading off to Mexico with a group of women who range from a close friend to total strangers. Though the trip required commitment months ago, it feels very spontaneous, and completely out of character. Mexico wasn't on the top of my list of dream destinations, and I'd never expected to patronize a resort. I'd always imagined any world travel I'd do would involve gritty hostels, buses crowded with locals and livestock, and hole-in-the-wall restaurants where the food is transcendent but not sanitary. But so far none of that has happened, and I'm not getting any younger. So when an opportunity to get out of Maine in January and spend a week in sunny seaside splendor, I jumped at it. I'm trying to not feel too guilty about all those I'll be leaving behind on what is slated to be the coldest day of the year so far. I remind myself that the closest thing I've had to a tropical vacation in wintertime is a road trip to Savannah, Georgia, in March, nearly three decades ago. And after I had to abandon my car halfway up my ice-rink driveway after taking the twins to the bus yesterday morning, I felt less rueful.

When I made a vision board for 2022 with my creativity circle last week, the Mexico trip factored in heavily in the images I chose--toucans, jaguars, sea turtles, butterflies. It may be cheating to manifest something that's already set in motion (the trip to Mexico that is, not necessarily the jaguars and toucans), but these days you can leave nothing to chance. Meanwhile, I like to gaze at the board and mix and match the words I cut out of old magazines:

  • Make positive small starts when stuck
  • Go on exotic journeys
  • Remember the restorative power of habits and journaling
  • Look up
  • Live a whole life
  • The world is full of wonders
  • Be a Wild Writer
  • Write here, write now
  • When in doubt, go birdwatching

All aspirations for both a short trip next week and the way I hope to live my life, in 2022 and beyond. What images and words are inspiring you in 2022?

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