In the first few minutes I was awake this morning, I took a sip of coffee and opened my phone. There was a new posting from my friend, Sharon King, who has written her wonderful blog, Midlife Moments for several years, often on topics related to mindfulness. Her posting was on the value of slowing down, putting down the cell phone and being present with others, savoring food by eating it slowly, taking the time to have a conversation with the people we encounter along the way in daily living. I was reminded of the way a favorite yoga teacher at Yoga Bliss, John Eeds, often opens his class. He encourages us to “let go of whatever it took to get here today.”
Today we depart Baton Rouge
Today of all days, the thoughts of slowing down and letting go are paramount. We are at the end of planning and preparing and at the beginning of our journey. This morning we picked up a rental car, drove it to the New Orleans airport, and will board a plane soon, making a trip to Atlanta for a few days before leaving the country for a full year.
Although we came up with the idea of this around the world travel last summer, we didn’t begin planning in earnest until right after Christmas. For the record, I recommend allowing six months for this planning instead of three. As we have come closer to the day of departure, the pace of getting everything done has increased and the final and critical nature of what we are doing has heightened. In the space of a week, we have literally boiled our lives down from a large house full of furniture and belongings, a car, two bikes, and a scooter, into two small suitcases and two daypacks. In short, what it took to get here represents a significant investment in time and resources.
But we are amazed and grateful at how smoothly this has all gone. We knew from the beginning that, at any step along the path, things could have ‘gone sideways’ creating problems and slowing down our pace, but every step went as well as we could have hoped for. Even so, this has been a stressful and emotional time and we are both on overload. In the days of being in the house during the move and for the past few days staying with John’s brother, Bill, we misplaced things regularly and lost track of what needed to happen next on our list. Over the weekend, we lost track of an important envelope that contained our International Driving Permits and several train tickets and itineraries. It turned up the same day in a pocket of my suitcase where I had put it for safekeeping, then forgotten I’d done so. Yesterday, when we were getting ready to meet the buyer of our car to complete paperwork and hand over the vehicle, I went into a panic looking for the car keys, only to discover that I had left the keys in the car and the car running in the driveway. I can’t remember ever doing that before in my entire life.
Leaving the people who are so important to us for a year
In addition to the logistics of disengaging from life here and free-falling into a completely new life overseas, our minds are also on people connected to us at home, especially our seven adult children (John has four and I have three). Their lives are not going on hold while we’re away. We have two daughters-in-law who will have babies while we’re away, (one having triplets), a son who is moving from Baton Rouge to Atlanta next week, another son and daughter-in-law who are preparing to through hike the Appalachian Trail, a daughter in medical school….well, you get the idea. And these are just our kids – I haven’t even mentioned siblings and other family members and friends.
What else can we do but take a deep breath and let go of all that it took to get us here.
Next up: Your Questions Answered: FAQs on planning around the world travel