Visiting and Visits
I figured that after 24+ days since the last post, as I sit here by myself, listening to tunes from my youth (Little Feat’s “Dixie Chicken” album) at a volume not conducive to conversation, it feels like a good time to reflect on those 24 days and share thoughts about them.
Shortly after writing about the “Spot,” and putting pen to paper about how much we still don’t know about gear and readiness for the long road trip ahead, Roque and I headed off for a trip to Guadeloupe for a little birthday-celebrating R&R. The island was perfect – beautiful, warm and friendly, with food that tasted like we were dining in Paris. With this vacation, we returned to our early days of traveling, where our trips were mostly to beach locations where we did little other than read, swim, soak in the sun, eat and relax. It was nice to return to that kind of vacationing. It was also a great reminder of how much we enjoy being on the road, seeing and doing stuff and not just sitting on our duffs. It was also a reminder of how we will need to build down time into our road trip traveling.
We returned on a Tuesday about 12:50 and used our Global Entry cards for the first time and oh boy, you just gotta get one of these cards! We had our bags on board with us which made the exit from our row 2 seats and into the Terminal much easier. Still, we were literally out of the airport and in our truck on the way home by 1:05 – I kid you not. Slide the passport into the kiosk, answer a couple of questions, scan fingerprints and VOILA! Out popped our receipts and out the door through Customs we went. So cool that I just had to mention this again.
Arriving later that day were daughter, Renee, son-in-law , Fard, and newest grandson, Jacob Victorious, from California for a couple week trip east. The day was spent getting ready for their arrival and the welcome party for the baby the following Saturday, returning to work, making meals and later-than-our-usual evenings in conversation with the West Coast family. Whatever residual repose remained from Guadeloupe faded quickly nto the whirlwind of the visiting family and return to work-a-day life.
Along the way, though, lessons were learned that further the trip planning and upcoming change in lifestyle. We reflected upon the fact that the beach was lovely but wasn’t it odd how odd it felt just to do nothing when the past several years of travel have been on the road, with sights, smells and sounds changing nearly every day. We reflected on the fact that our road trips have been at a fairly feverish pitch, never alighting in one place for very long and how it felt good to stay in one place for a bit. We reflected on how easy it was to do without TV, since we were lucky to find a radio station we loved, had our iPads, books and wifi and cell signals strong enough to support email, online Scrabble, text messaging, Waze, and some internet browsing but nothing robust enough to allow for video streaming of any kind. (In full disclosure, I have to admit that when, on our last night, we stayed in a room with strong enough Wifi to support YouTube, we did enjoy catching up on some Daily Show and related clips. . . ). We reflected on how essential having navigation capability is, how language challenges can be overcome, how nice it will be to have a 4-wheel drive vehicle while on our Pan American road trip, and how much we love exploring grocery stores, local specialities, and off the beaten track locations.
With the arrival of our family and the ensuing 2 weeks of sharing our house with 3 additional people, we’ve had additional reflections: we’ve loved our time with the baby and, more than ever, look forward to the time when he and his cousins will come visit with us when we relocate to Panama, a dream that we have had since we first conceived of moving there. We’ve loved the time with family, which reminds us how important it will be for us to make those twice yearly trips back to the States once we relocate outside the country. Watching the baby and new parents, it’s impossible not to reflect on the level of energy that is required to take care of a baby and to be thankful for the handing off the baton to our kids for them to start the process of creating the next generation of movers and shakers. It feels more and more comfortable making the decision to take our energy in a different direction and devoting the next chapter of our lives, of whatever duration, to exploring and to focusing on selves.
Being sidetracked these last 24+ days hasn’t meant moving sideways or standing still. With our eyes open, we see through these times, how every day adds to our learning about the days ahead. Or, maybe we are just paying more attention. Whatever the reason, we are grateful for the diversion and, as always, for what we learn along every path.