“But why think about that when all the golden lands ahead of you and all kinds of unforeseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you’re alive to see?” Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Though it tugged at my heart to leave magical Sedona, I soon felt excitement and freedom of the adventure ahead. On the drive 1600 mile drive toward Pensacola to see my daughters, I experienced variety in both the weather and geography and had the opportunity to connect with many dear friends.
After almost two months of lovely spring in Sedona, I was surprised to need a winter coat and to even pass a bit of snow. A bitter wind was blowing when I stopped for the night in Deming, New Mexico.
Even in the chill, wildflowers were blooming among the cactus. On the second day, the weather began to warm as a made good time on the 80 mile-per-hour highway. As I neared my stop at Junction, Texas a few Indian paintbrush and bluebonnets were evident – a sure sign that I was getting close to “home.”
It was a joy to find myself once again in the beautiful Texas Hill Country during bluebonnet season. My Hill Country stops on Saturday included a visit to my dear friend, Lynn, in Boerne, my step-son in New Braunfels, and a night at Penny Stone’s charming Airbnb home in Wimberley.
On Sunday, I had the pleasure of reconnecting with dear “Louisiana” friends in Lakeway, Austin, and to meet my newest step-great-grandson in Hockley. On Monday and Tuesday I had wonderful visits with friends in Kingwood, very near my old Houston area home. I headed for Louisiana, making a stop at the old ferry crossing at Port Allen, across the river from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to “visit” my longtime friend, Old Man River. I grew up a mile from the Mississippi in New Orleans.
In Pensacola, where my daughters live, I have had a lovely, relaxed time with family. I have attended my granddaughter’s last volleyball tournament of the season in Mobile, eaten seafood at Margaritaville on Pensacola Beach, picnicked with my grandson at the park, enjoyed a boiled shrimp feast, looked after my granddogs and will get to see my granddaughter dressed up for her senior prom.
In between I’ve been making preparations for my month long trip to Ireland and England. I have stressed over making the “right” choices – what size suitcase? – which clothes?– will I find milk free/wheat free food? – should I make all my plans before I leave or let the trip unfold? I have gotten great advice: put out what you think you need, then put a third of it back in the closet; rain ponchos are much better than umbrellas, which turn inside out in the wind; take a walking stick; people are friendly; you’re going to love it! It was fun to connect with two salespeople who had lived in England. One sold me the last warm sweater at Belks (not easy to find in Florida after Easter). The other, who accepted my return of the large suitcase (in favor of the medium one), said the poppies would be in bloom. She advised me that it would still be rainy and foggy, but that the temperatures would be good (low 50’s!) I am going back to winter prepared with warm cost, hat, gloves and scarf.
I’ve now turned the corner from the anxiety. I’m excited to get into the flow and see what unfolds. The first 10 days I will be on an Avalon Journey in Dublin, Glastonbury and Cornwall. I’ll go back to Glastonbury for six days at an Airbnb at the Priory to attend a workshop at Chalice Well. I’ll have about 18 days to explore on my own – just me and my suitcase and public transportation. Stay tuned.