It is hard to believe, even fathom, that 16 years ago John and I sold our house, sold our car, left the big jobs and set out on a journey around the world, visiting 26 countries in 12 months … “eyes to the horizon, following the summer sun, never allowing it to set…”, two suitcases, a camera bag and a laptop in tow.
A day of travel and time for contemplation.
The beginning of a year of living in the moment, following an intense period of planning, when it often seemed that we spent all our time living in the future as we laid the groundwork for our trip all around the world.
Some followsummer tears
We get to the airport early, driven by our wonderful friend Carmela and her daughter Kathryn. and greeted by long lines to clear the US immigration inspection. While in line, we pull out our around the world ticket and realize the consequences of this massive, life-changing decision. Once through, and sit quietly in the lounge, making a few last minute calls to friends and family. Then we get onto the plane, but there is a 1-hour delay in pushing back from the terminal. And because of the headwinds, the flight is about 30 minutes longer than normal. Lots of time to reflect on the adventure we’re beginning. There are a few tears shed as we fly through the afternoon.
The movie on the flight is “Under the Tuscan Sun”. The name of the villa, Bramasole, means “yearning for sun”, and it is an apt description of the year we begin. Some particular quotes from the movie stand out: “Terrible idea! – don’t you just love them!” and “Regrets are a waste of time.” I believe there are no coincidences, so I take all of this as a good omen for our journey.
Finally, much later than expected, on a wet and rainy Friday evening, we arrive at the home of our friends Larry and Del in Hollywood. Outside, the clear air is wet and sensuous with the smell of eucalyptus. Inside, we find wonderful smells of stew enveloping the house – so warm and welcoming on our first followsummer evening!
That night when we open our luggage we discover that Carmela and Frank have tucked little followsummer remembrances into our bags, and so we end the day thinking again of the trade-offs we have made – exchanging a home, a life, careers, friends and family for a voyage of exploration of the new, and hopefully of self-discovery.
An entire year of followsummer.