Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mental Vacation


Four years ago, I did something brave.

I went on a week-long Caribbean Cruise all by myself. For some, this would not be considered exceptionally brave. There were many single women on board and they weren’t first-time adventurers either. In fact, I know quite a few intrepid women who trot around the globe without a second thought.

I'm not one of them, but I aspire.

I’ve traveled internationally, but never alone. There was a time in my life that a trip to the grocery store was the extent of my solo excursions. It wasn’t until my divorce that I had to move outside of my comfort zone and learn to confidently navigate my way to places outside my little corner of the world. Even a commute downtown was anxiety inducing, but I had no choice.

Since then, I have spread my travel wings a bit wider with frequent work related trips and some personal stateside jaunts.

But, the marketing tagline hooked me immediately: Remember the time you fell in love with music?

Yes, I did!

The very first Cayamo Cruise, a singer/songwriter themed event, was billed as a Journey Through Song. One look at the bookings and I knew that this would be more than a vacation for me. The lineup represented artists whose work had been the soundtrack to my life through the years.

I’ve always been a music lover, but I fell in love when I discovered the singer/songwriter genre. The right song lyric at the right time proved to have tremendous healing and transformative powers. I discovered this at a time when I needed it most. There is no better way to listen to it than live.

With a fairly recent break-up behind me and my youngest child leaving for the Marine Corps in just a few months, I was acutely aware that my life was undergoing a major transition. A new phase was beginning and I could think of no better way to say arrivaderci to the past and launch the next leg of my journey than spending a week immersed in the music that had sustained me through the years.

By the time I boarded, I had made new friends via the cruise message board and we hung out together through the journey, forging friendships that we continue to this day. We dubbed ourselves "Zona Dos" which was nothing more than our boarding zone (zone two) but it sounded much more exciting in Spanish. The cruise has become an annual event, and the core group of original cruisers have reunited every year since. Except for me, that is.

I’ve been tempted to go again myself, and have come close to booking several times. But the ship has sailed four more times without me, but I would very much like to go again. Schedule conflicts, a new relationship and other obstacles caused me to miss the proverbial boat time after time.

Then again, there was also something so special about that week of my life that there is a part of me that wants to keep it in my memory pure and undiluted by new experiences. I'm not counting it out though.

Shortly after my return, I created a little video montage about my Cayamo experience, set to the song "I Don't Know Why" by Shawn Colvin who was one of the performers aboard. I share it with you today as I remember when I fell in love with music and remember how music has the power to get me through.

It makes me smile as I think about how I felt back then - optimistic, independent, with a vision of bright happy and fulfilling life ahead of her. So much has happened since then, and she's sort of bobbing about like an tiny boat without an anchor. But, I know she's still in there...she just needs to recalibrate her compass.

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  1. What a beautiful video montage! That looks like a fantastic trip...I admire your courage to go off alone and have this amazing adventure! Thanks so much for sharing - a music-filled cruise sounds wonderful.


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