By Royce King
We all have a dream inside of us. Most of us realize it as children. Then, as we become adults, we begin working and “life gets in the way,” as they say. What I’ve discovered as I’ve become older and wiser is that we are meant to live every day; we are meant to pursue our dreams and live with passion and purpose. We are not meant to just go through the motions of life. “Life” should not get in the way of “living.” We weren’t born to survive, but to thrive.
As I sat in my apartment one afternoon, I realized it was time to pursue one of my lifelong dreams — travel. Over the last six months, my life had changed drastically and I had the freedom to travel.
If you can see it in your mind, you can hold it in your hand.
Recently, I had secured two new writing contracts which covered my expenses. I could write from anywhere. With this new realization, within 48 hours, I had made plans to do so. For the next three months, my place was leased; in two weeks, I had to pack up my personal belongings and be out.
This was a big step. Even though travel had been a lifelong dream, I had never dared anything like this before. What if I got on the road and didn’t like it? What if I became homesick? What if my grown kids needed me to come back for some reason? What if I suddenly got hired? After all, I had spent eight months trying to get a job for security, stability and the ability to make a community impact.
Another challenge that occurred to me was the transportation issue. I had recently leased — yes, leased (don’t ask) — a car a few months earlier. Now I had to worry about the mileage. How far did I really want to drive before I called the road trip finished? In addition, the new car was a Ford Focus. My mind also wondered how I would stuff all the clothes from two closets plus my necessary office supplies and the dog into a Focus. Reality set in. This may have been too spontaneous. Could this really happen?
I had a rough plan that made logistical sense based on my starting point. I would travel north out of Florida and make my first stop in the vacation capital of the world — Alabama. No, really, I had to see my friend in Alabama that I hadn’t seen in almost four years. She was one of my very best friends from when we both lived in Colorado. She now lived only a half a day’s drive away, yet we hadn’t seen each other in nearly four years.
Because I had lived in Colorado and had several friends there, including my two best friends, I knew Colorado would be my farthest stop. I also knew that I had been dying to see Nashville; it was on my bucket list. As an avid country music fan, that was a “must see city”; however, for business reasons, it also came to the top of the radar. Memphis was only a few hours drive from Nashville and I had a friend that lived outside of Memphis, so I may as well add that to my list of places to see. There was some networking I felt compelled to do; the time was ripe for opportunity.
So, the tentative route seemed to be: Alabama, Nashville and Memphis. Then where? As another necessary epicenter for my business, Kansas City seemed like a good place to stop next. Since I am already in Kansas City, I may as well drive on to Colorado. With that reasoning, I set that as my tentative route. However, again, the thought plagued me that since I had never done anything like this, would I want to come home? Oh yeah, I couldn’t. I had rented my place for three months. Well, I guess I could come back to the city, but I would have to stay at a friend’s place. I did have good friends that would help me out if needed, although it would be an inconvenience to them probably. And, couch-surfing was “in vogue” now. Of course, this is true among the college crowd, not the people my age.
So I braced myself. I kept repeating to myself the affirmation that I had always wanted to travel and this was a chance to fulfill that dream. What was I worried about?
I called my friend in Alabama. She readily agreed to host me. Wonder what was going through her mind as I told her I was “homeless” by choice for three months? She was probably hoping that I planned to visit more than just her place. Otherwise, she may disown me as a friend after three months of imposing. Of course, this is just speculation. (She’s too nice to tell me.)
Scheduling time in my schedule of tight writing deadlines, I took all the opportunities I could to spend time with my children. No matter how old they get, they are still my children and I knew I would miss them. During the last few days, I became acutely aware of their caring hearts, my daughter’s excellent organizational skills and my son’s wit.
One particular comment that stands out as I said goodbye to my son for the last time before I embarked on my journey was, “Mom, knowing your personality, you’ll call three years later and tell me you are in Kenya.” Funny, I have never mentioned going to Kenya; the islands maybe, but, not Kenya. Was my personality really that spontaneous? I’m not sure, but he made me laugh amidst the tears. As I hugged my daughter for the last time before my journey, I made sure to let her know I had thoroughly enjoyed being her “roommate” for the past few months; we had truly become friends, the kind of friends you become once your kids become adults.
This column includes both fiction and nonfiction, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of The SUN. Submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.Be grateful for what you are given.