Bag Lady (besides being the title of a great song by one of my favorite female artists) has always been a term of endearment for my style of travel-always carrying too much. Over packing is synonymous with my first name. Friends of mine joke, “I can hear you coming down the hallway, bag lady!” Another would often reply with disbelief and hysterical laughter when I proudly proclaim that I successfully packed one ‘carry on’ sized bag for a two week adventure.
Obviously organized, structured and planner are frequent adjectives to describe me. And I genuinely agree unapologetically that these three elements help keep me balanced in life. That is until well…life or the opposite actually.
Consider what it might be like to have the earth shatter from under your feet like a dropped egg plummeting to the ground helpless to its demise, bringing you to an abrupt halt and leaving you in a million pieces from the fall. Yea… that’s what it felt like when my Mother, life coach, and best friend in life and all things international travel, took suddenly ill and passed away while I was serving my country overseas in the U.S. Peace Corps.
Both my Grandmother and my Mother, the two rocks in my unruly stream of life, taught me that positivity and laughter go a long way. The harsh reality that nothing really goes “according to plan”, however, left me ambivalent about what I’m called to be and who I was shaped to be and ultimately pitted my mind against my heart. After I lost her none of the “plans” we’d made were to come to fruition. In the months after her passing I would ask myself some tough questions-as I do- and encounter a profound silence in response. Over time one solitary word would come to me from the saddest place in my heart, GO! So I will.
Now I travel to feel her; to find her in the smiling faces of humanity. To keep moving forward with my journey of being a positive change in people’s lives through cross cultural experiences and adventure in places I never thought I’d be inclined to go! Meeting my own travel goals while meeting the truth that time and letting go of all the bags I carry will heal my shattered heart while helping me plant my two feet back on solid ground.