Monday, July 2, 2018

There's Only One Road to Now

It never occurred to me when I was a teen and planning out my life, that I would become a teacher or gardener. Gardening was for old people and lunatics who specialized in baseball bat sized zucchini and massive trees growing at sharp angles in tiny spaces. I was going to become a writer and travel the world. It would be a bohemian, artistic life not unlike Hemingway’s days in Paris. To accomplish this goal I spent a few years in college often drunk and occasionally naked and only traveled from party to party before marrying a conservative military officer I met in a bar. I stopped writing, had children, and poured my passionate spirit into creating a garden everywhere we went. 


Isle of Wight, England

But I am an explorer at heart. Little road trips around the area I recently moved to have peppered my summer days. With no final destination in mind. I simply get in the car and drive down whatever street looks interesting. But travel abroad is my favorite. 


beach vacation, English style

With my daughter in graduate school in London for the past year, another trip to England was soon on the schedule. I should have said no when the flight attendant asked if I’d give up my seat for a passenger whose seat was broken and switch to a non-stop flight to London but I didn’t. It seemed like the kindest choice and would get me to my daughter faster. But as a reminder that kindness should always be given simply for the sake of being kind and that the Universe doesn’t owe anyone anything, while I zipped off to England, my luggage stayed in Virginia. 


Ventnor, Isle of Wight

But life goes on, doesn’t it? Despite my fatigue and frustration, I was on vacation and was damn well going to enjoy myself. After traveling by train, Tube, train, feet feet feet, hovercraft ferry,  bus and a short walk, she and I crashed at our flat in Ventnor, on the Isle of Wight. A happy reunion with my luggage was several days away. 


The view out of our Airbnb

Since the airline assured us daily the luggage would be arriving soon, we stayed in Ventnor instead of venturing across the island to the usual attractions. I visited their botanic gardens but only took one picture. Most gardeners probably don’t take pictures of plants they don’t like,  but I did. The largest, most lethargic looking agave I’ve ever seen lay slumped outside the garden entrance. I do not like agaves. I like my plants the way I like my people - warm and cuddly. Agaves are stabby and while I can forgive them for this since it wasn’t of their choosing, I avoid their company.  But to be fair, I avoid people who are stabby, too, since there’s no rationalizing with a psycho. 


Agave have skin puncturing spikes at the end of each leaf.

I don’t like heavily scheduled vacations. That just seems to defeat the purpose. I want to relax and just wander. I’d rather see less and enjoy it more than rush from spot to spot like a five year old on a  sugar high. So we wandered. We climbed the steep hills of Ventnor and took the coastal path back. But I’m not that good at staying on any specific path and kept going off to explore the trails less traveled. One path ended at a steep drop off that not being a mountain goat, I was unable to scale while another required a bit of bush wrangling but ended with a gorgeous view. 


This path was unexpected but worth the extra work.


This view lay at the end.

But that’s life, isn’t it? What we think is the destination might just be part of the journey and we sometimes find ourselves somewhere completely unexpected but absolutely beautiful. We finally made it back to the beach and I  turned and asked my daughter, “Where are we?” But before she could answer, I responded “We’re right here.” “Exactly” she replied. 


Having packed nothing in my carry-on but a good book and a few snacks, I borrowed my daughters clothes and let the wind style my hair. 

51 comments:

  1. What an adventure. Beautiful views. That is a lazy agave. It looks like it melted.

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    1. It does look melted! We had a great time and I’d love to go back.

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  2. Happy your path is taking you on fun and interesting new adventures! Hugs

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    1. Some are more fun than others but that’s life. Hugs right back!

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  3. Enjoy your exploring and your time with your daughter.

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  4. What a gorgeous place to visit! Looking forward to reading about more of your adventures :)

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    1. We had originally planned on going to Cornwall, but it was too far and to minimize our time traveling we chose a spot closer to London. Wight was wonderful!

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  5. I enjoyed your concise description of your early life choices - I wish I could be as succinct in describing my own! I'm glad your lost luggage didn't significantly impair your enjoyment of the trip. Perhaps it actually freed you to focus on what was in front of you rather than any abstract plans you might have had in mind when you set off? One day, maybe I can introduce you to a foxtail agave, the friendliest agave there is.

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    1. I don’t see any point in pretending I was anyone other than exactly who I was. I had a ton of fun! If The airline hadn’t lost my luggage, it would have been a different trip. The up side is that we only had to schlep one bag to Wight instead of two, so there’s that! Aren’t the foxtail agave soft? I might have to check them out.

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  6. Hell yes! So glad to read the backstory on the Agave photo you sent me... enjoy! Unless you’re already home, then hope you enjoyed....

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    1. I’m still enjoying! If that plant could talk, I'm sure it would have quite a tale to tell!

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  7. What a gorgeous spot you have landed in! Enjoy.

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  8. Loved this piece! Traveling is such an exceptional way to rediscover what we appreciate about the world and our lives, I think. Enjoy! And sometimes we find places that just feel like “home” and bring us back to ourselves.

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    1. I absolutely love to travel and explore. It’s a good reminder that the world is bigger than the little bubbles we live in.

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  9. Que lindas imagens. Esse lugar parece ser lindo. Tenha um feliz dia.

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  10. That's a beautiful and thoughtful post, Tammy. It's annoying that the luggage didn't arrive with you but it looks as though you made the best of it - you always do - that's why you're such an inspiration to people! I'm glad you enjoyed the Isle of Wight and glad the summer weather is holding out for you too!

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    1. When the airline asked if I wanted the luggage delivered to Virginia, I nearly lost my mind. It was sent to a friends house who lives outside London, which is much closer than Virginia!!

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  11. Tammy you are still that college girl underneath it all .. but .. with a lot more experience under your belt .. leading to a deeper enjoyment of what life lays at your feet (aside from that drunk agave?) .. luck was on your side that you and your daughter could share the same size cloths ! LOL
    Great pictures .. with a sense of what really mattered in that moment in time .. again, aside from the agave ? LOL

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    1. I agree that there is still a lot of her in me!! She and I were both very glad I could wear her clothes. One night I walked around the flat in a blanket for pajamas. It was pretty funny. But I was very happy to get my luggage back! Buy being with her was more important than being with my luggage.

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  12. Just think, in spite of it all...the journey was worth it, right? You my friend are such a Trooper!

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  13. The Isle of Wight looks almost tropical! Not what I would have expected. So glad you are having an excellent adventure with your daughter.

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    1. It’s always weird to see palm trees in England, isn’t it? Wight has a very Mediterranean climate.

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  14. The circumstances leave you a lot more of Wight to explore the next time. I have the same view on vacations - I do not like structure. As to prior lives, if mine hadn't rolled out in its helter-skelter way, I wouldn't be the person I am today. And I rather like the me I've become.

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    1. It would have been a different trip if I hadn’t lost my luggage. I like the me I am, too. I don’t want to be anyone else.

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  15. It would take more than a missing suitcase you dampen your indomitable spirit! Glad you got it back in the end. I did enjoy this post, I dislike to much structure on holiday too! How wonderful that you are in my part of the world, I hope this heatwave of ours isn't spoiling things. If you are passing Liverpool do let me know! xxx

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    1. I truly wish I’d had time to come to Liverpool. I zipped off to see a close friend who lives outside London and then headed for Slovenia. She has hedgehogs who visit her garden every night and she puts out food and water for them. I was telling her about you!!

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  16. You sound as if you are a real free spirit, and your daughter seems to compliment you and have a similar attitude too. Everyone takes too many outfits on holiday, and I like your idea of letting the wind style your hair - how lucky are you that you are the same size as your daughter too.
    I know you said that you do not like a heavily scheduled vacation but I do hope that you did at least manage a visit on the IOW to Osborne House, Queen Victoria and Albert's summer residence.

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    1. I am a free spirit, for sure. I didn’t make it to Osborne House but did go on a wonderful hike along the coastal path.

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  17. Well that looks perfect! I've never been to the Isle of Wight.. Cornwall is nearer... but clearly I'm missing out.
    Suitably dressed for the local conditions we once left London in snow at the end of December bound for the tropics and yes, the airline lost our luggage. Travel is worth the occasional discomfort that comes with it. Enjoy!

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    1. Our trip originally included several days in Cornwall that I had to cancel due to time constraints. I really want to visit that area. This is only the second time I’ve ever lost my luggage. It was a hassle but at least I didn’t have to drag my big bag all the way out to Ventnor!!

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  18. Sounds like you had a wonderful time, despite the lack of luggage! Life always brings the unexpected, and it's good to have an attitude that can make the most of it!

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    1. Ya gotta just keep rolling. It’s pointless to fall apart over things you can’t change. I did get frustrated and angry when the airline asked if I wanted my bag sent to Virginia. I was very happy to see it again after our three day separation!

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  19. Enjoy the rest of your trip, Tammy! Love the last picture the most!

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  20. I really enjoyed this post! The view at the end of that path was definitely worth it, just as the joys in life are so often obtained by a difficult journey. Best wishes!

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    1. Thanks, Deb! Difficult paths often do have beautiful views, if you can just stick it out to the end.

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  21. I don't think I ever had a plan for my life. I decided to study art and worry about making a living once I graduated. This sounds very spirited, but I paid for the lack of planning with a string of poorly paid jobs. Then I got a decent job that I stuck with for almost two decades. I fell into marriage in a way that shocks me in retrospect. I didn't have a clue at 25. I enjoyed your post Tammy and can relate in so many ways.

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    1. I can be both a planner and a total bohemian. It really just depends on the situation. I didn't do much advance planning for this trip. I just let it unfold each day and really liked that approach. We had places to stay each night and flights home and that was it. Each day was a new adventure.

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  22. What a lovely post. So glad you're blogging again.

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  23. I love this post, Tammy! So often I've found that it is the unexpected, unplanned moments that bring us the greatest joy. So glad you had such a wonderful trip with your daughter.

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    1. We had an incredible time! It was awesome to spend so much time together. I'm a big believer in spontaneity and we had it in spades on this trip.

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  24. You can wear your daughter's clothes?!! Not that I'm envious or anything.

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    1. Yes! I'm tallish (5'7") and slim and just wore what she'd brought before I was reunited with my luggage three days later. :o)

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  25. Looks like you're having a much better time, despite the luggage lag, than that poor agave. Would thinking of spiky plants as sculptural help? They do have soft spots and I love touching them, but it must be done carefully.

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    1. I had an awesome time! The agave as sculpture is a great idea, except for those damn spikes! I’ve seen agave with wine corks on the spikes and thought it was a great way to keep from impaling myself.

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