Michael and I always wanted to see the world with each other.
We had it all planned out; After he and I graduated, we would go to Europe and start our travels. From Greece to tropical terrains, we'd see it all (leaving a few places for after retirement) and then head back and start our family.
Fast forward to 2007 and our "plans" fell to the waist side. The last foreign country Michael would visit would be Iraq, and all the dreams and hopes of our life together dissolved as fast as it took two uniformed men to say, "We regret to inform you..".
It would be a little less then a year later that I found myself on the couch ( I know that's so hard to believe), watching TV (hold the gasps), when a movie came on that concluded with the main character leaving his life to pursue a "spiritual journey" in Spain. The sun set as he walked with a backpack and stick in hand. I'm a huge movie buff and for some VERY odd reason, this "straight to DVD" film caught my curiosity. As all humans do when curious, I Googled "spiritual journey & Spain" to see what came up. 5 months later I was backpacking 220 miles across Spain on the Camino de Santiago. I flew out a day after the one year anniversary with nothing but some euros, and and a backpack with two sets of clothing and socks. I walked over 15 days with nothing but my thoughts, and when I finished, I felt closer to Michael then ever before.
Everything I saw I took snapshots in my memory. Everything I'd never touched before, I brushed my hands across. Everything I'd never smelled, I inhaled into my being. I was taking notes of all that I'd be able to share with Michael. If he couldn't be here with me, I wanted to report back in full detail when we are reunited again.
Since that trip, I've made the personal decision to take a once in a lifetime trip....once a year. It's a time for me to reflect on where I have come, and revel in the fulfilling life I can live in the love of my husband, and in the love I have for myself. So next week I am off to Ireland, with my senses as my pencil and my memory as my paper. To write of the living I did (and continue to do) in the memory and spirit of my soul mate, and in the spirit of who I have become (and continue to become) because of him. Slainte!