Overwhelming Life

A year ago today I sat in a hospital waiting area. Wishing beyond everything this was not happening. I prayed, lost as I was. It was such a daunting diagnosis my mom received. Not just breast cancer but renal cancer as well.


I could step away, take a breath, she could not. Mom fought on. It has been an overwhelming year. I’ve never thought of myself as a caregiver but in my quiet moments alone with introspection, I most certainly am and though I am not perfect. I love perfectly in my care giving.
Mom’s oncologist gave her a “cancer free” label last week. Life is most certainly a journey. These are my words as I sat, waiting, a year ago.

“Earrings from my Seestor, ring from Aunt Dorothy, necklace from Michelle in honor of Grams, yeah I’ve got the women I love surrounding me.”


Congratulations mom! Here’s to many more anniversaries!

Abandoned

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The heat bore down on my shoulders as I walked the perimeter of the forlorn oasis. It seemed someone just forgot to unlock the gate, but it was forgotten long ago. In the heat of a summer day, an abandoned swimming pool is not what you want to find while traveling.

An empty hole of concrete, painted white. Overgrown cracks in the walkways. Last years leaves blowing around, crunchy and brown. Its enough to break a child’s heart or a grown-up’s heart who wishes to splash like a child again. Yes, I could find something else to do with my afternoon. No, I was not going to throw myself on the ground in a full blown toddler meltdown (although the thought crossed my mind). The abandoned pool seemed more desolate the longer I surveyed it. As I moved on back to my car for bigger adventures my thoughts began to wander, like they usually do, to writing about my discovery. I was having trouble putting this one in a positive light. I am not fond of summer weather. I am often heard sating the only two activities one should be doing is hiding in blessed air conditioning or swimming in a cool, clear, pool during these oppressive days.

My traveling heart is always looking for the experiences in my adventures that easily translate into meaningful life lessons. To be honest I was coming up blank at the time. Sure you could say something like, “Nurture your life so others won’t see it as abandoned” or “If life drains you be sure to fill up again”, but really? We all know our nourishment both physically and spiritually is a requirement for our own personal success. It seems contrite and almost condescending to hear the clichés over and over again.

So today I leave you with this simple statement…

If you are feeling abandoned, unlock your gate, let someone in.

Travel well my friends.

 

Warm Tea, Winter Days

Spent a cloudy morning with Jeanna of Whispering Pines B & B in Nebraska City.

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I can’t wait to visit during warmer months, enjoying the multiple gardens sprinkled throughout the property. This historic home has been lovingly restored to welcome weary travelers, year round. Thank you Jeanna for the warm hospitality.

Keeping It Real

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Snow, not road dust.

I want to be totally honest…

I hate negativity.

I am a Midwest/Great Plains, proud, independent, gal. I was born and raised in a moderately large town, for us country folks. I strive to keep a positive outlook. I focus on the silver linings of situations. I consider myself a nice person. I immediately fall into the standard finger wave when my tires touch gravel roads. I can drive a sports car, a 4×4 pickup truck, a John Deere tractor, an all terrain 4-wheeler, a massive Case combine, plus a myriad of farm implements and city toys. I sail, jet-ski, even tried my hand at steering a speed boat on the Missouri River. Heck if you let me I can drive a riding lawn mower, maneuver a horse down a tree lined trail or peddle my bike on one of the many bike paths in Nebraska.

I have experienced all sorts of road conditions, snow, mud, gravel, ice, and even the destructive tendencies of “white rock”. The roads department version of speed bumps. These small boulders of white death are spread along the gravel back roads of Nebraska. For miles at a time it seems a truck loaded with them has seemingly opened its back gate, dumped them while driving, and forgot to spread them around. You will be cruising along on an unsuspecting gravel road, then BAM! Your tires slip. Your once forward momentum stalls, feeling like you’ve entered quicksand with the added benefit of sharp meteors striking the underneath of your vehicle.  I am sure there is scientific evidence that this plague of large marble sized, (the shooters, not the mibs~but that’s a whole other post) rough edged, chalky rocks is a better alternative to the tiny gravel stones of my youth, but I am failing to see it’s merits.

I believe in road trips, country drives, business commutes, luxury leisure travel, your basic ‘point A to point B’ transportation. I love the freedom of being in charge of my own mode of travel. I embrace driving to see the world around me. Yet sometimes it is time to let go. Turn over the proverbial reins to someone else.

Which is why I will drive for hours to reach a large airport just to fly Spirit Airlines. Not the airline you thought I would say, huh? Spirit Airlines is a low-cost, 2 star rated*, controversial airline. Their current ad campaign is ‘It’s the age of Aquarius’. The slogan for the company is ‘Less Money. More Go.’ They are the ‘Home of the Bare Fare’. It seems their marketing department has yet to graduate high school.

Yet, in my sunshine attitude, I can look at all of those aforementioned reasons not to fly and fly with them over and over again. I have never had a bad experience with this airline. For all the negative hype around this carrier, I have yet to encounter it. I look with a critical eye at all my travel adventures. I report straight back to you, I refuse to lead you astray. I can’t even stay in a hotel anymore without critiquing every little detail.

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Ready for take off!

So when I book my air travel I am very serious about who I turn those reins over to. I know exactly what I am getting each time I fly with them. My inexpensive seats will have little to no leg room for my almost 6 foot frame. The width of my seat will accommodate my former 16 year old self. The drinks, snacks, bags and check-in will cost more, if I choose to open my wallet.

I know those things. They spell it out on all of their connections with me. I am responsible for my own self (see this is where that ‘independent gal’ comes in). I know I will have a seat on the flight, I chose it. I know I will have my boarding pass, I printed it. I know my bag is small enough to be a personal item to avoid baggage fees, I packed it.

I have been fortunate enough to fly the Red-Eye to Vegas (both ways). I have enjoyed stretching my legs in my own row for a flight. I loved arriving at my destination almost 45 minutes early, due to a tail-wind and an excellent flight crew, much to the stress of my greeting party. Now I will have the opportunity to fly with Spirit Airlines for my teenagers first ever flight. Yep that’s right, my teenagers have never flown. Your travel guru, road trip maven, adventure seeking, Soul Experiencing Guide, has never taken her teenagers on an airplane. Once again, that is a whole other post. 🙂

I personally would recommend Spirit Airlines any time you need to fly a short distance, unexpectedly, or inexpensively. The flight staff is friendly, they live up to their slogan, and most of all they safely get me to where I need to go, when I don’t want to drive.

Travel well, my friends.

*Skytrax 2015 rating. Retrieved July 25, 2015

Life

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Life points us in the direction we need to be moving. Our faiths take us to places we feel we need to be. No longer should we be confined to small sections of this planet nor should we be led to massive monuments with the destination being the only experience we enjoy.

Tourism is dead. The traditional, move from point A to point B, way of touring this magical sphere is over.  The days of experiential travel are here!

Travel is alive! 

But wait, you ask, ‘I thought that was the business you are in?’ Soul Experiences is in the Experiential Group Travel industry.  If you Google search ‘Tourism’, ‘Group Travel’, ‘Tour and Travel’, ‘Tours’, you will find us and a myriad of other tourism companies. These are words you will here from us still but our focus is the journey, together. Sure we will see lots of the “must sees” of this world but while we are rolling down the road to our destination the journey will be exceptional.  Gone are the days of disconnected tour guides and questions left unanswered!

Do not cling to the familiar, explore the journey! Every time we travel we learn. We learn we are more alike in our differences than we once believed. We learn we need experiences to grow and be fulfilled. Experiences are not gained exclusively by aging. Wisdom from our age, only adds to our soul experiences. Experiences are the stepping stones of a fulfilled, soulful life’s journey.

Travel Well My Friends!

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Sunrise

Nothing in the world compares to being on the road as the sun creeps up the horizon.  I put my back to the East and started driving.  The jet black of night surrounded me. Illuminated by the errie blue of the dash lights on my little car. As the black gradually lighted to inconsequential shades of grey, my imagination conjured Dr. Seuss creatures moving in the empty fields.