I know….sounds a little crazy…..but that’s what’s on my mind today, first and foremost. The weather here is very coolish – there were 3 inches of new snow at my house this week! The mountains had more of course. So when the weather turns on a dime and we are no longer having 75 degree days, I start thinking of pumpkin bread, apple crisp, a fire in the fireplace and winter blankets on the bed.
Except I am going to SINGAPORE this month!! With a side-trip to Thailand!! Heat and humidity are in my future!! There was a mad dash around this week looking for sale items that would be suitable when the sweat is dripping down the entire length of your body underneath your clothes, puddling here and there along the way. Even the summer clothes as we know them just don’t cut it in Singapore – you need flimsier garments that float around your body rather than sitting right on your skin. Dressing one’s self there is a challenge. Think gauzy. Think filmy. Think two showers a day.
I have family in Singapore – my daughter and her husband. They will be living there for several years, adding that locale to a long and growing list of places they have traveled to and lived in for a time. They love it, not just for Singapore itself but for all the other enticing places you can see in just an easy weekend jaunt. This fabulous trip will be another addition to my quite small but growing trip-of-a-lifetime list. Do you know the New York Times best selling book “1,000 PLACES TO SEE BEFORE YOU DIE – A Traveler’s Life List” by Patricia Schultz?? It is in its second printing, with 200 more places added now and although it is a paperback book it is nearly 2 inches thick. You will get lost in this book so have post-it note paper handy. It will take you away to places you had no idea existed as well as reassuring you that your must-do places, like Rome for instance, will never not be a place to see before you die. You need a copy of this book – you need several to have around when you need a great gift for delighting seasoned travelers or opening the eyes of others who want to broaden their horizons. And NO I am not making any money by plugging it.
Of my entire core family of two grown children and a former husband, I am the least well traveled. My son filled up his first passport and is on his second; he travels the world with his job, sometimes calling me on a satellite phone while standing isolated and alone out in the field of a place I have to find on a map after I hang up, and I do know my geography. I don’t really get around much, except in my robust imagination, and in that regard you might say I have been around the world several times. I have spent all of my life painting and writing and with other creative pursuits. I have, actually, been to a handful of great places including some across the pond, but I have never traveled farther west than to Japan and Hawaii. Singapore will be something very different for me. I do have reasons – valid reasons, for my modest travel schedule – and although it would be virtually impossible in the time I have left to catch up with the others, I am setting my priorities and intent upon crossing some of my dream trips off my bucket list. Oh I have always had a bucket list, don’t get me wrong, but my practical life got in the way of it. You know how it goes. I have had a big full life of many transitions, changes and challenges, much joy and great sadness and all that lies between. I would be just fine if I could not ever travel anywhere again – but I am fortunate enough to finally have the will and the way both at the same time.
Through the eyes of my nomadic children I have gained a great deal of knowledge, acceptance and pleasure for exotic places I have actually never seen myself. My kids are great ambassadors for the United States, through their genuine curiosity and respect for people everywhere and their consistent, unspoiled good nature and polite manners. I know that was first taught at home, but is it not true that in many ways we learn more from our kids that we ever taught them? I have a fresh appreciation for the Buddhist way of life, for instance, and am now aware as never before, living in the now, and practicing a higher degree of tolerance after seeing their countless photos of temples and shrines in Bhutan, Burma and other countries in that area of the world and choosing to read books that back up that visual experience with substance. I have become a more well rounded person as a result of their travels. I am more enlightened and in tune with the universal plan.
These days, the world is our backyard. I am glad that my children and yours are finding it easier to navigate the globe than we ever did at their ages – it is true that in traveling we gain greater understanding and acceptance of eachother, and we could all use more of that. With travel, life becomes deeper in meaning; our purpose here clearer. As a favorite t-shirt says, “Life’s big questions. What is the meaning of life? Why am I here? …and where are the cookies?”
So I am making apple crisp today, secure in the happiness that a grand trip awaits me. I am ready and eager to learn about places I have never been, and perhaps I will gain the answers to life’s big questions. NAMASTE.