I am on my third around the world adventure! Not sure where I got my love of travel but I suspect being an Army brat and a 30-year consultant has a lot to do with it. This trip has been amazing, as those of you who follow me on Instagram or Facebook have seen.
Before I head to the Solomon Islands today and completely disconnect from the internet, I have to express the cognitive dissonance I’m feeling about being in paradise (a.k.a Fiji) on the eve of a day that broke my heart twice.
Heartbreak number one is, of course, the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which I witnessed and experienced first hand. I’ve sat in my living room every single 9/11 since 2002 to hear the names of the victims, honor their lives and weep aloud along with the readers whose mourning is as fresh as it was on that day. I won’t do that this year and I somehow feel I am abandoning the souls who I know are still around
my neighborhood. How angry and sad they all must be, taken in the prime of their lives. I will miss seeing the Towers of Light and having dinner with my dearest friend Ann Marie, a tradition we started about 10 years ago.
Heartbreak number two is saying goodbye to my Dad back on September 11, 2012. He was stolen from us by the horrid disease, Alzheimer’s. I was walking home after a stroll in the neighborhood as I always do after the 9/11 memorial service when Deb called to say he’d gone peacefully. This moment only reinforces September 11th as day forever marked by sadness. On that day I boarded an airplane for the first time in 11 years (and probably the last). You see, I don’t work or fly on 9/11, ever. Except on the day my Dad died.
So, here I am half way around the world, so far removed from the sadness and my loved ones, feeling so very grateful for my life and remembering to not squander a moment of it by being unkind or selfish.
I am grateful for the things I’ve seen and done on this trip:
- Heard the bells of Notre Dame ring on beautiful summer day in Paris
- Visited my dear friend Philippe, a former colleague who as a big part of my success
- Enjoyed five-star service as La Mamounia in Marrakech with daily spa appointments
- Toured Marrakech and picked out a beautiful Berber rug for my home
- Drove to the desert and hiked through a Berber village
- Drove the Garden Route in Western Cape, South Africa where I breathed some of Earth’s freshest air
- Got up close and personal with a massive great white shark
- Petted and fed the Elephants
- Saw the Big Five on a game drive
- Spent the night in a luxury tent listening to rain pound the canvas
- Slept in the tree tops at the Tsala lodge
- Visited a few South African vineyards and breweries
- Looked for whales while enjoying a nice sea-side lunch
- Hiked in Tstisikama and saw a 1,000-year-old tree
- Spend four nights sleeping on an airplane
I’m in Fiji about to catch my flight to the Solomon Islands where I’ll spend 10 nights on a liveaboard and do little more than eat, sleep and dive. Here are some of my favorite shots. See you on the 20th when I return to civilization.