Monday, August 29, 2011

On to Georgia

Jeff and Ken (Did I win this game?)
My trip down the East coast felt short, but sweet.  I am now on my way to visit an amazing friend, Jeff, who has been a great support in my life, and especially on this present journey.  This leg of the trip feels much easier for me - I am heading towards a friend who knows me and accepts me for all that I am, or am not.  I do not have the fear that I usually have as I transition, when I haven't known where I was going and where I would be staying.  It feels good to not have this fear, however, my desire is to feel this fearless, this light-hearted with each transition, not just when I am heading to a friend and a familiar place.

I am so looking forward to this visit though - it will bring me lots of laughs and give time to rejuvenate even further....recovering from burnout seems to be a much longer process than I thought, but maybe it is because I am doing something that does require energy from me, (that is, leaping into the unknown).  This may be easy for those who find traveling solo easy.  For now, I focus on arriving at Jeff's house who shares his life with his partner, Ken.  Both are always so welcoming and they make it so easy to be in their home.  I was so touched when Jeff informed me what Ken had said when Jeff checked in with him about my visit, "Mi casa es su casa.".  I knew then that I always had a place to go despite being 'homeless'.  I have such gratitude for their friendship.

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Jeff and I met many years ago at Northeastern University, both having a goal to become fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and to become an interpreter.  

I, however, didn't continue down that direction very far.  I ended up transferring to BU (Boston University) for Deaf Education instead.  This was a much better match for me than being an interpreter.  As an interpreter, you are placed in situations that are constantly different (which is not easy for me) and require you to not have a voice.  You, as the interpreter, transfer information, that's all.  This can be a challenge and frustrating especially during times when miscommunication is happening between the two parties, which often happens since there is a cultural aspect that hearing people don't often realize - there is a Deaf culture, which is different than the hearing culture.  As well, since one of my life lessons deals with feeling as though I am not being heard, this probably wasn't a good option for me - placing myself in a situation where I didn't have a voice.  I love kids, and working with Deaf children became a passion for me as I continued through the 2 year-long Masters program at Northeastern University in Boston.

                                      Jeff and I spent many years in Boston, as mutually supportive friends and playmates.  He was the one I called when I spontaneously wanted to go to the beach, or go sliding during a snow storm, or spend a day playing at a water park, or hang out at Walden Pond for the day, and to share a bottle of champagne, just because, and for no other reason...or while watching a sunset.  He was also the one whom I called when I needed a friend, and who always made time for me when I needed to talk, vent, and, he listened...and still does.

After many years of being in Boston, Jeff decided to transition from Boston.  He took the leap - purged his things, packed up his baggage and left, Hawai'i being his destination.  It was an incredibly grievous time for me when he left and I grieved having him near me for a long time.  Yet, I was simultaneously thrilled for him - he was on his way to living differently.  There was nothing that I wanted more for him, that he find happiness, so I supported him in any way that I could.

A few years later, I found myself doing the same thing...following in his footsteps.  As you may know, I headed to Hawai'i first too.  His ability to make the change was an inspiration and gave me the willingness to let go of all that I knew, knowing it was okay to leave the safety of my comfort zone.  My spiritual mentor, Jeannie, often reminded me as we discussed my plans to change my life, that if I could change my perspective and see it as 'expanding my comfort zone', not leaving it, which then could trigger some underlying issue and prevent me from proceeding.  This was beneficial for me and I use it each time I am transitioning to a new location, when that fear begins to creep in.

I am reminisce about all that Jeff and I have been through over the years as I drive.  My trip from SC to Decatur, GA is uneventful.  I drive through beautiful country-side, see lots of churches, and wonder if there is really a need for so many when it is such a rural area.  I see some odd things like a gas station named, "El Cheapo", which just looks out of place in this part of the country.  When I arrive, I receive a warm welcome, hugs, and we begin to catch up.  We chat for hours and during my stay we savor long meals together at home and at restaurants.  We go to Starbucks and enjoy downtown Decatur.  He is the kind of friend who you don't necessarily have to do anything special with to make it a special time.  Playmates who are soul mates are so valuable!  Mahalo to Jeff and Ken, and to their dog Blue who is my walking mate.  Hey guys...have you taken Blue out for a walk recently?

Check out books by Jeff:  In the Nick of Time and The Time of His Life:

Jeff is also an astrologer.  Visit his website at

Visit Ken (Hornbeck) who is an actor, trainer, and facilitator: 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Myrtle Beach, SC

I am on the road again.  I come into Myrtle Beach with such disappointment.  It is overly developed, with traffic jams, construction and my enthusiasm for being here has decreased tremendously.  I drive by many hotels, but I am looking for something that is small, affordable, and friendly.

I come across one that only has a few floors amongst the giants of the area.  I get this incredible deal for the week - it is at a hostel price for a private room, with a balcony and a view of the ocean.  The benefits of visiting during off season, I suppose.  But, I can be at the beach in any season, in any weather, so it doesn't matter to me if it is off-season or not.   I have spent winter days on the beach, with a picnic with hot chocolate and building sand castles.  I have sat under a beach pavilion, reading my novel in stormy weather.  If I had the opportunity, I would probably be one of those who would runs to the ocean during a hurricane.

Myrtle Beach is a great walking beach.  Walking is my meditation.  I spent many early mornings before my hour drive to work in Boston, walking the streets before life invaded them.  Now, here, I can walk for miles on hard sand, while reaping the healing benefits of the ocean (and ignoring the sky-scraper hotels).  I also go swimming, but for those natives of Myrtle Beach the water is much too cold.  For me, a New Englander, the water is certainly swimmable.

I spent most of my time either walking on the beach or sitting and reading on the beach.  I must be changing my signal, because I meet people along the way as I walk and am approached by people during my sits.  An older man begins a conversation with me, using my book as the opening topic.  Over the course of the next few days, he comes to visit me, inviting me to dinner and to spend time with him.  I enjoy the conversations, but I decline the invitations.  I have begun to sense his attraction to me, and I don't feel the same.  I am in my 40's and he in his 70's...I don't even think about this being a possibility due to the age difference.  Not that I don't think it could happen to someone, but this was not for me.  My radar to find a romantic partner isn't even on, never mind with someone 30 years older.

He is a nice guy however, and we connect because he is a 12 stepper.  I easily recognize the lingo and deduce that he attends a 12 step group.  I had been in Al-anon for many years, but had reached a point where it was no longer supportive of my spiritual growth and I sought support outside of that group, and outside of any organized religion.  I grew up Catholic and no long practiced this either.  This native of South Carolina was deeply involved in both.  So, even if I did have any attraction, this would have been a deal breaker for me.  We communicated via email for a short while after but I couldn't handle all of the 'god' talk.  We parted with an open invitation that if I ever came back to SC, then I was welcome to visit.  That was a perfect way to end it for me.

Again, I am tempted to stay here.  It is affordable and I am right on the beach....perfect....however, I don't.  The need to keep on moving is still with me.  In retrospect, I wish I had stayed longer in some of these places and let myself experience more.  Yet, at the time, I was where I was in my thinking and emotionally and I accept it.  I left.....heading towards supportive friends, albeit away from the coast.  I say my good-byes to the ocean and head West.