California Adventure Day 8

Day 8 – May 18

Today we woke up and packed everything. My Dad made friends with other travelers in the parking lot.  He gave them our extra waters, trekking pole and some other things. We stopped at a FedEx to mail ourselves some of the things we bought along the way. Then  we grabbed some pizza in Albany and began our journey to the airport among the random chaotic California drivers. We arrived safely a few hours before our departure and sat at the gate. I plugged in my computer and began to write and go through pictures. This trip has been more than I could have anticipated or expected. The sights we have seen; I could not imagine them in my wildest dreams.

Nature has a way of changing me; always for the better. I hope I never stop traveling; never stop wondering in my wandering.

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I brought my journal entries from my divorce with me thinking I would be inspired to write about that time in my life. The open roads, tops of mountains and endless ocean; I thought I would have no choice but to reflect. I can say I only thought about things once.

My Dad and I were traveling on the windy mountain roads and I remembered the last trip I took with my ex. He was so mad that we were traveling on similar curvy roads at night and he did not hold back in letting me know how upset he was. I put the blame on myself like I usually did and sat on eggshells for the rest of the night.

As my Dad was driving, I thought about this memory. I looked at him. He was fully enjoying every turn and challenge that presented itself. He patiently took the turns knowing that mountain roads take extra time. It was a pleasant experience for me. I was reminded that not everyone is like my ex. Truly refreshing.

This trip really has been about being on the other side of healing; rejoicing. I rejoiced at every place we visited. I’m thankful…so thankful for life and living it; for the adventures we were experiencing and for the ones that are ahead of me. I have learned to openly embrace life. The joy, heartbreak, challenges; all of it. Without sorrow, joy wouldn’t be so sweet. Without heartbreak, love might take things for granted. Without death, life would mean nothing. I’ve never breathed so deep and felt so fulfilled.

As we were boarding the plane, my Mom told us there were storms in the area where we were landing. I thought, “But of course!” I should give some background to this thought.

My family decided to take one more vacation together before I got married. One night as we headed back to Texas from the Mall of America, we found ourselves driving on an open flat highway in Iowa. Storms were all around us though all we could see was black emptiness. Lightning would frequently expose the sky and we would see glimpses of the landscape. We saw the angry clouds producing the rain that pounded on the car. I found myself drowning out the deafening drops with my prayers. On the radio, we would hear that a tornado was sighted or touched down in the city we had just passed. My brother was tracking the storm and my Dad decided it was safer to keep driving and be ahead it. A very terrifying experience to say the least. I remember thinking, “I’m finally about to get married and I’m going to die in this car.” This experience is a family inside joke.

Our plane flew over the storm and we got to see the unpredictable zigzags lighting up the clouds. This is the first time I have flown over a storm. Keeping our distance provided a calm, peaceful encounter with a destructive beast. A nice little surprise to end a truly wonderful and life enriching trip.

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