The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED TWENTY ONE: Far From Home…
I had never been out of the United States.
Honestly, I have never been out of state other than just a hand full of times. A few times to Florida, I traveled to some of the surrounding states, and twice out West to Utah.
But out of the continental U.S. of A., I never thought I would ever get a chance. I always had dreams of traveling, all around the world, but until I won the lottery or sold some best selling novel, I figured that would always be a dream to dream.
Until… my wife decided, after many years of being against the idea because of the movie Titanic (and maybe the actual event), she wanted to go on a cruise. I’m still not sure what changed her mind but I thought I should just go with it before she decided to change her mind.
Then was planning and saving and some dips into our 401K’s for our adventure. Before we knew it, we were on the second largest cruise ship in the world, The Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. It’s basically a large building that floats on its side. Massive.
And before we knew it, we were out to sea to visit the Bahama’s, St. Thomas, and St. Kitts, with a side trip into Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.
Let me get this out of the way, this blog post isn’t about everything we did, or bought, or ate or the basic tourist stuff. This is about what was going on in my mind as we went from one thing to another, from one island to another, from meeting one person to meeting another. This blog post is about the mental adventure I went on our trip. It’s about how I saw a world that I knew existed and was finally able to see for myself.
People go on cruises all of the time. There are people that go multiple times over years and years. They might as well have their own permanent room. There are people who can travel all of the time, whether it’s because of work or just because they can. I do envy them.
But for people who rarely get to leave their hidey holes, everything is new on a trip. New visions, new experiences.
I found myself surrounded by water. Water, water, water. I saw the sun set into the ocean and disappear leaving behind sunsets that could only be created in an artistic mind. Orange and red streaking the sky and then turning to purples and grey as the sun said goodnight to me. Some nights, I got to see stars that had been there the whole time but I had never seen knowingly due to light pollution of the city. Here they were standing out, shining.
Since I am a creature of habit, I was still waking up early. I would find my way down to Deck 5 where they had coffee waiting for those people that awoke before the sun showed any glimpse of coming back around. With my coffee in hand, I would go out to our balcony and listen to the ship cut through the water below, turning the dark water into a light blue. I would sit there and sip as it became lighter and lighter. If we were close to an island or one of our destinations, seabirds would fly by sounding out to us. I loved standing next to the rail with my arms resting on it as I felt the mist just kiss my face. And I loved waking up from seeing nothing but water the day before to seeing islands in the short distance away, dark, rocky bodies lying in their Caribbean watery beds. Worlds that had been seen before and many times but never by me.
Then there were the people. I meet people that lived in these ocean guarded islands. This is the place they called home. They lived in places that I considered paradise. I’m not sure if they would think of it that way but, of course, being new to their world, it felt that way to me. I saw them going to and fro on their own business. And since most of them rely on tourist, WE were their business. When we stopped and got off the ship, we would be approached by dozens of people, wanting to know if we needed a ride or wanted to go on an excursion through the town or to the beach. Most people we saw were all smiles and open. Of course, this is how most make their money and smiles help bring in the tourist dollar but I didn’t feel any falseness in their looks. Either they are really good at hiding their disgust or they are truly glad to see us.
I felt happy and excited to be in the mix of these island people. I was wide-eyed and trying to take everything in without looking like too much of a tourist. I succeeded in the former.
I saw things I dreamed about, that I never thought I would. It helped me feel more alive, more aware, more there, more here. I stepped (sailed) far out of my comfort zone and I not only survived, I lived. I actually lived, maybe more than I ever had. I felt more at one with my world, my planet. Even though it’s just a drop in the bucket of what’s out there. I have lived in my own little world for so long. I may not live long enough to see everything I want to. Money and time are the true gods when it comes to travel. If you have little of each, it makes seeing the world hard to do. But I hope this is something I can change. I want to see more. I want to experience more.
And I brought back something back from our cruise. I brought back a yearning to know more about where we are and what we can learn about what’s out there.
If you can take anything from what I’ve said, take this.
August 10th, 2018
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.