After six months back in Vancouver we are off on the next leg of the never-ending journey. This leg will take us to Hawaii for five days, Samoa for six, and Fiji for two, before arriving in Sydney mid December. We are island hopping across the Pacific to protect Don’s back from those brutal fifteen-hour flights, and also to thwart serious jetlag. From Sydney we will travel to Canberra, my Australian hometown, to housesit for my oldest friend from high school and to have Christmas and New Year with family. Following that we will begin a five-week exploration of New Zealand. Returning to Australia, after two weeks at the beach with family, we will explore from the Great Ocean Road in the south to Darwin and Kakadu National Park in the north. And then in Early May we will fly back to Vancouver stopping in Fiji and Hawaii along the way.
This past six months in Vancouver has been one of the most social times of our lives reconnecting with old friends. Just as rewarding was meeting for the first time with people we’d only known online through the blog, and with the friends of friends who’d been kind enough to let us stay in their homes while they were away. We kept commenting to each other in mild astonishment about how social we’d become. We even gave two dinner parties. We have good friends, who have good friends. Wonderful thoughtful funny open people. Every gathering was a joy and added richness to our lives.
At the same time this past six months has been a surprising roller coaster, and a test of patience, presence and acceptance. So much happened that was unexpected and has left us reeling a little. First my badly sprained ankle, then dealing with South American parasites and viruses, then Don’s burst lumbar disc, plus the unwelcome discovery that we both have mildly elevated cholesterol levels – something new for both of us which we mainly attribute to eating ‘stupid’ for two months in Cyprus, and lack of exercise due to illness and injury. I also have had a lot of right shoulder and hip pain, which had me looking at the underlying causes. It has felt like one darn thing after another.
We both had to look at fears and limiting beliefs about ageing, and I was dealing with weight issues fueled by the deeper need to be ‘good enough’. I discovered the right shoulder pain was the pain of carrying the blog as a ‘should’ and a burden. I discovered the right hip pain was arising from inner conflict about my life path. I thought I wanted to be in meditation retreats, and devotedly following a spiritual teacher until I became ‘enlightened’ (whatever that means). I finally had to face the fact that that was not the life I was living, not the choices I had been making. For years. The inner conflict was tearing me in two at the hips – exactly the place that symbolizes moving forward with your life. The truth is I want the life I have, not that other life which is nothing but an old illusion I had about how I would get to where I wanted to be. I now know I already am where I want to be.
It has been a time of much truth facing and growth and letting go of old ingrained ideas and beliefs that no longer serve us.
It is now November 29, the day we fly to Hawaii. And the whole feel of life being a bit like a comedy of errors continues. Rushing this morning like an out of control tornado I smashed my face into a door jamb right between the eyes and have a gash that probably needs stitches, but won’t get them. I was gushing blood but stopped it with pressure. I’ll be heading off to Hawaii with a bandaid on my forehead. Talk about having to let go of any ego pretensions about appearance. Meanwhile Don returned the rental car and forgot to give them the keys, so had to go back there only to discover the office was closed for an hour for lunch so had to hang out there for nearly half an hour waiting for it to open again.
I called our friends who are taking us to the airport to give them an update on Don’s whereabouts and noticed the power cord for his computer was still on the floor under the table in the guest suite where we’re staying. I bend down to get it and my face starts gushing blood again. This is nearly four hours after I injured it. More pressure to stem the bleeding but I’m a bit freaked out. Our friends come down from their apartment to help me get all our bags into their car. Michael thank goodness decides to do a check of all the drawers and cupboards and finds a whole bunch of kitchen utensils we’ve left in a drawer – and this after I’ve been rushing like a mad woman to get all extraneous items to our storage locker. Too late now. Oh and we both have colds. Never before have we left town in such a state of chaos.
We are now at the airport. I’ve had my forehead seen by the paramedics here and all is well. Smacked myself pretty much right in the third eye. Hmmm . . . . I wonder what that’s about. Don asked me what it was about and I said I think it was a big SLOW DOWN message. Presence. Trust. Surrender. Presence. Same things as always. I really was in some kind of frantic panic with no need to be at all.
Thank you Michael and Ricki for being such good friends, and for getting us to the airport.
That’s all for now. We are off to the tropics. When we get off the plane in about seven hours it will be about 25 degrees. I relax at just the thought of it.
Photo of the day: Cyprus rose
All words and images by Alison Louise Armstrong unless otherwise noted
© Alison Louise Armstrong and Adventures in Wonderland – a pilgrimage of the heart, 2010-2015.