We sailed away from Kona, on the big island, while the sun was still well above the horizon. We are on two, back-to-back cruises, repositioning the ship from its summer around Australia and New Zealand to its summer on the Inside Passage to Alaska. Although this part of the cruise began in Honolulu on the 28th of May, it still felt like just more of our extended holiday. But as the ship left the safe harbour of Kona, Robin said, “Now we’re really sailing to Canada.”
And so it feels. An overnight sail out of Kona, five days at sea, a last night’s cruise threading the islands off the coast of Washington and British Columbia, and we’ll awaken in Vancouver. From there we’ll hop a taxi to the Greyhound Bus station. If it runs on time, we’ll pull into the Kelowna station at 4 p.m. Holly will pick us up, and we’ll walk through the door of our condo around 4:30, for the first time since September 15, 2008.
I’m excited and reluctant to return home. I’m in the middle of the ocean being pulled so many ways my limbs may pop off. I’m a nester. I like being in my own space, cooking my own meals, sleeping in my own bed, reading my own books, taking clothes out of a closet instead of a suitcase, enjoying lots of privacy and solitude, sitting at a computer that’s always connected to the Internet, looking at a big screen instead of the tiny one on my laptop, inviting friends over for dinner, shopping at the farmers’ market, walking to the movies or bank or bakery or just moseying along the waterfront. I crave the comfort of the familiar.
Yet here I am, nearly eight months after leaving home, reluctant to see the end of this adventure. Every day has brought something new and stimulating. For the first time in my life, I’ve crossed the equator, seen the Southern Cross, visited tropical paradises, wandered around both islands in New Zealand, and seen more of Australia than most visitors ever do. With so much yet to see, so many people yet to meet, and my 63rd birthday only four months away, how can I stop moving?
My life surprises me. How did a kid from Twin Falls, Idaho, end up living in 34 different homes in 22 cities and 5 countries? That doesn’t include Australia, where we’ve been visitors everywhere we’ve traveled.
The Jewish saying, “Man plans; God laughs”, comes to mind. Long ago I planned to graduate from university, get married, and have a family. I started off that direction, but along the way life happened, and it wasn’t the life I had planned.
When I look back at the bumps and detours and crash landings, I’m happy about the way my life has turned out. If I’d had a crystal ball, I’d have run screaming many times. I didn’t so whatever came way, I just dealt with it – sometimes well, sometimes badly.
I’ll keep on doing that until my time runs out. And, oh, the stories I’ll have to tell.