Thursday, January 20, 2011

That “Ah-Ha” Moment

We’ve always enjoyed traveling. Before we were married, and before the kids soccer and baseball schedules took over our weekends, we used to take off every chance we could get. We’d truck up to Vermont to enjoy some skiing with friends at Stowe. We’d fly out to California to visit my cousin and her husband; head out to the Cape one weekend, and camp up in Maine the next. And then…well, you know how it goes. Life just gets too busy. Other things take priority over a plane ticket and the cost of a hotel, and before you know it, it’s been years since you’ve had a chance to get away.
Sitting in our neighbor’s living room on New Years day, three other couples we knew started talking about the incredible experience they had last winter on a Norwegian Cruise to the Mexican Riviera. After admitting having never been a cruise, they were quick to invite us into re-living their incredible vacation, and sharing with us how amazing the escape really is.
I had always seen the commercials- the laughing couple dancing the night away, a woman lounging on a towel-covered deck chair drinking a cocktail, and spread of irresistible food cast upon a long table, but I never really paid too much attention to those ads. It’s almost like you learn to block out the noise around you that doesn’t or won’t apply to your life, and at that time, it certainly didn’t apply. Something though, about listening to our friends recount their personal experiences spoke to me more directly than any TV commercial I had ever seen in the past.
Listening to people our own age, at a similar stage in their life, who had embraced their new found freedom of retirement and were relishing in the opportunity to travel, created this incredible “ah-ah!” moment. It was an odd feeling, really- uplifting, exciting and strange all at the same time. It made me sit back and realize, for the first time, that at this point in my life, something like this was a possibility. We’re no longer tied down by full-time jobs, soccer games and homework, and with a smaller home, lower living costs, the kids off on their own, there’s not too much in our way anymore. If we want to up and go on a weekend, for a week, or heck, even for a few months, the reality is that now, we can.  As our neighbors reminded us, we worked hard to bring ourselves to this point in our lives and the time is finally ours to do as we please with it, including re-igniting our passion for traveling- for experiencing new things and meeting new, interesting people, once again.
With the long, dreary days of winter upon us, the thought of a tropical getaway is so incredibly appealing, and for some reason, on New Years day, the desire to escape really pulled at me. A New England winter is settling in, but the vivid pictures of fiery sunsets, an endless array of interesting cuisine, countless activities and plenty of time for rest and relaxation made the outlook of what’s ahead for us come alive. After years of dedicating our time to everyone else, it’s time to seek out the adventures that we haven’t yet had a chance to explore.
And so, thanks to the encouragement of our Jensen neighbors, it’s official. Next on the retirement agenda: A cruise- to take to take us away, show us new places, let us sit back and relax, escape the winter cold, and sail away into a new, exciting part of our lives!
Bring on the adventure!
Get in on it

1 comment:

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