I knew going into this blog that it would take more than a year to find happiness. Anyone who is honest with themselves knows that it is an ongoing and never-ending task, searching for their own happy. But I like to set deadlines and goals, and a year is a good length of time for new ventures.
My latest journey on the “road back” was a short trip to London, England last week. I used to travel all the time; for work, with LK, whenever the opportunity arose. But with all the upheaval in the last three years, I hadn’t been able to, and realized this summer that I hadn’t travelled in almost four years. I was beginning to get a bit of cabin fever and wanderlust, but the ties to Jack were too strong to allow me to branch out very far.
But then, this fall, I reached the point of no return. I was frustrated, lonely, exhausted and, quite truthfully, angry. I had been taking care of all my obligations at home, which I freely and joyfully took up. But let’s be honest here, taking care of a special needs child is difficult. Doing it as a single parent feels like an impossible task some days. I consider it a blessing and an honor to be doing it, and doing it fairly well, but even I have my limits. So I decided to call in a favor.
Immediately prior our separation, LK and I had a trip to Paris planned for my birthday. Once he left, I discovered that he had cancelled the trip without telling me. I asked him why he cancelled my ticket and he was stunned when I said I would have gone alone. Of course the ensuing discussion wasn’t very civil, but what came out of it was a promise to provide a plane ticket (via his immense bank of airline miles) once I was ready. And while he was a little hesitant when I called the favor in, he did book the ticket for me.
In another blessing, I had friends in London who offered me a place to stay. I had known JS, the wife, since she was dating LK’s brother, nearly a decade ago. I had always prayed they would marry so that we could be partners in the crazy family that was LK’s. But in a bit of divine intervention, it didn’t work out. And now we know why. I had only met RS, the husband, a few times, but we had become “Facebook friends” and shared Likes and Comments back and forth for a few years. They were wonderful hosts and I loved their neighborhood and hospitality.
Those two bits of the trip, a plane ticket and place to stay, removed a significant barrier to my ability to travel: money. I could afford food and some sightseeing, but that was about it. The addition of a longtime friend, JD, who travels regularly, meant that I would have a sightseeing partner, which removed the final fear: Being kidnapped in a foreign country. Don’t laugh. I have watched a lot of Lifetime movies in the past four years at home.
Over the next few weeks, I will share my photos, as well as selections from the travel journal that I kept. I saw lots of old stuff, ate tons of delicious food (it’s a myth that the English have terrible cuisine) and learned a lot about myself. I was also reminded of the Maggie that I knew before LK left, Jack arrived and I let myself be forgotten so that other things could be taken care of.
I hope you will check back and if you do, that you will enjoy my remembrances of the amazing trip. And I really hope that if you have been putting off travel, or been putting yourself on the shelf for the benefit of others, that you will be inspired to again place yourself in the forefront. At least long enough to remind yourself of who you are and want to be.