February 15, 2005
The Joyful Traveler
Riding High near Mazatlain, Mexico 1992
When I travel I tended to save all of the little brochures and things so that when I would develop my photos, I could put little books together that I could look at later. Well how many of these did I make? The one for our honeymoon, that one I did, but I never did any of the others and so there are at least 15 boxes of stuff out in the garage that is likely the casualty of Madamn Mildew and Mr Humidity. so when I opened the oldest of these cartons I was pleasantly surprised to find that for the most part things were intact. It was folder filled with the mementos from the cruise that I took with my Mom to Mexico. The photos that we took were mush but the three ship photos that were there are in wonderful shape so I scanned them and here is one.
This was the first serious trip that I took with my Mother after my Fathers death in April 1992. We decided that we would take a cruise to Mexico on Thanksgiving week. We avoided the emotional crap of family holiday stuff, or in our case the angst of NOT having family holiday stuff. I have always had a tacit agreement with my longer term employers that I get Thanksgiving week for my vacations, the rest of the people can have the heavy duty family time of the Christmas holidays with the ensuing childcare dilemmas to themselves (I was, after all, single and only going to multiple music rehearsals and leading worship for a two day five service stint on Christmas Eve and Day... I ran whole departments during this slow time in the freight trade and loved the freedom to call my own shots. A future business owner for sure...)
We had a fabulous time and my Mom still talks of it. She was treated like a queen and no desire went unfofilled. Cruises are not like this now, having succumbed to the budget cuts and the other indignities that have befallen the travel biz
I saved a letter to a penpal that I started then didint finish and checked my journal from the period and this is the synopsis... I slept a total of 21 hours in 7 days, and was a perpetual motion machine. Go to bed at 2-3 am Up at 5 or so to watch the sun come up, have devotions and meet the day, Id eat then escort Mom to breakfast and eat again. Take the days shore excursion, eat then get her back to the ship, eat, swim, eat, dress up (I had a different dress up outfit for every night, no casual cruising for me and since we didn't have to fly I had multiple bags like traveling royalty) go to dinner, go to the show, take Mom back to the room and get her settled...Did I mention the different date every night and the shipboard romance that ran aground when I failed to show up for the tryst at his cabin, broke his heart....I forgot, I ate two more times in the interim. Then dancing and hanging out at the Piano Bar a few nights, did some singing in there. Was approched by the Cruise Director to go to work for Royal Carribean...wish I had... Ate the Midnight buffet every night and sneeked a plate out (against the rules, they want you to go the the Buffet or order room service uggh!) to my Mom. The Dining Room Captian, Rene... I can still remember his name, was crazy for my Mom and would have a hand selected plate ready for me to pick up at 11:30 pm. Id sneek it out the back door and down a flight of staris to the promanade deck, and go the back way to our cabin...I was exposed on the last night at the cruise snap shot show where one of the phtographers followed me out and shot a great picture of me running down the deck to avoid wave spray getting on the food from the rollers as we were returning to LA in heavy seas....Danced my heart out and have not partied like that since... Secretly fell in love with the gay cruise director (in addition to the other guy, I didnt love him he was just fun)
To answer the question I know you are dying to ask. I LOST weight that week to the tune of 7 pounds, My Mom, who walked a lot more than normal, lost 5 pounds. Considering the average cruiser gains a pound a day, which you will with 13 separate eating opportunities a day plus room service, its no wonder...
I was at the top of my game, so to speak, with my job, the ministry I was a part of was flowering and I had had few bumps in the road spiritually. I had finished a rigorus period of phsycological counseling and if one could graduate, I did, and was summarily kicked out into the world...
I was so in love with life, that I look back on that period with awe and a sense of wonder. How could I have been that way and been so blind to the oncomming train of life? I remember standing on the rail on the prow of the vessel running at 23 knots my long hair whiped into a rat and thinking "Lord, is there nothing more?".....
Oh foolish me to ask God a question like that?
The next 12 years have been a rollercoaster of a life and that innocent faith filled "nothing can come that will shake me girl" is a lot wiser. Things do come and you do get shaken. What I have learned is that you can remain a joyful traveler when the joy seems to run out. I am doing that now seeking to enjoy this transition even as I fear it and wish it wasnt happening. Its all about the journey really...and what a journey it has been too.