I leave my latest travel adventure with a bittersweet sadness that my extraordinary bag may have seen its’ last trip.
This may look like an ordinary, even cheap, dirty discolored worn bag. I would fiercely argue in opposition. The intricacy of each thread woven together has created a story of a time and place of my treks…where I was, the process of who I am, and becoming.
I have taken needles & threads to mend unravelling pockets, holes, and zippers on many occasions after each enriching travel experience.
This bag is literally a metaphor for my life. At one point, I started bright and shiny, yet became tattered through life’s circumstances and decisions. My rough patchwork repairs represent the un-sleekness of my life. I have experienced the adversity and craziness of “1st world problems” in the last few years, and as a result, became worn. Sometimes I allowed myself to be shredded whether unconsciously or consciously, wallowing in self-pity, but eventually through a long arduous process, allowed myself to be patched.
Now, a new spool will be threaded to create a new travel bag that will be fuller and richer for fresh stories to be told. I truly believe I have been rejuvenated, and a calmer more blissful journey is awaiting me.
However, I will not forget the chaotic memories of this handbag…
- my beautiful kind-hearted colleague gifted me with this beautiful treasure. Some yearn for expensive Louis Vuitton & Chanel designer purses, but my existence is the experiences of friendships and families whether directly tied to mine or the ones I have met and/or observed in different cultures
- holding tight a wailing sleep-deprived orphan in my arms for her to fall asleep in the tropical jungle of Riu Dulce, meaning “sweet river.” Food and water are basic necessities, but the tenderness of human touch are just as important. Everyone should have the comfort of safety, but unfortunately, not many do
- a milestone birthday and Christmas holidays with my children, or as I lovingly refer to as “my brats,” along the Bay of Banderas’ warm sandy beaches. I do not always have the typical motherhood privileges to celebrate special moments with my children regularly, and these memories are even more delightful and precious.
- how many mothers and sons can say they had matching family accessories (2 boot-casts, a pair of crutches, & a wheelchair) maneuvering through cobble stone streets and customs???!!!
- listening to Calypso beats while eating tender fresh lobster tails during late smoldering hot evenings in Havana with my BBFF, boy best friend forever
- gutted, betrayed, and scared in the Sea of Cortez because I naïvely trusted the wrong man
- experiencing euphoria skydiving as the morning sun rose through the misty jungle-covered Sierra Madre Mountains
- meeting new friends along the black sandy and volatile Pacific Ocean surf of Playa el Tunco
- the emotional roller coaster of being disinvited to a family wedding in the Philippines, yet building a deeper bond for my sister-in-law and her generous family. In shock, I gazed in a zombie-like state at the most passionate blood-orange sunset; I am sure Mother Nature was strongly voicing her displeasure at the venom of inter-marriage family feuds.
- witnessing the captivating elaborate rich processions that commemorate the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus during Easter’s Semana Santa in Antigua
- being in awe and inspired by a family who gave up the American dream to relocate to Guatemala to empower impoverished families to sustain their livelihoods with eco-farming, teaching from “seed to plate”
- experiencing the generosity from my spin cycle partner in crime who wanted me to revitalize from the chaos of dirty (literally and metaphorically) city life by enjoying his beautiful casita in a remote tranquil peninsula of Belize. I have peaceful memories of climbing the water tower daily with my toast and the largest creamiest avocados to gaze at the aquamarine Mayan Riviera and inhale the fresh morning dew
- licking my sticky fingers of lingering sweet Figo juicy remnants before rock climbing the rugged Algarve cliffs with newfound friends, who immediately became kindred spirits. The voice in my head whispered eerily, “you fall you die, you fall you die, you fall you die” repeatedly. One may argue braveness or stupidity! Southern Portugal was the final destination where my bag fully disintegrated. The jagged rocks caught onto the canvas material of my bag and the cotton threads of my t-shirt ripping holes. I gathered my physical and mental strength to scrape and pull myself through the narrow rocks, trying not to inhale the hillside dust, and avoid the falling loose pebbles caused by the person climbing ahead of me. The result of the challenging terrain detour (learned afterwards, the caves were an easier reach by kayaks) was the most picturesque private beach with grottos and refreshing Atlantic Ocean water.