Denver to Tahiti – The Beginning
The world is a crazy place – just 10 days ago I booked a trip on a cruise! My first ever! I came home from dropping off my just-graduated daughter at photography school in Montana on a Sunday. The next morning I found myself on the computer booking my first-ever cruise by noon. I was leaving in 10 days… To Tahiti… Alone… Impulsive, yes. And necessary, too.
The past two years have taken a toll, and yet my life is taking me on a new path, a new beginning. I struggled through and overcame a serious illness; dodged the cancer bullet; saw my marriage crumble after 20 years; lost 45 pounds (a small child!); watched my two children graduate and grow and leave; lost a beloved father-in-law and best girlfriend all in the same week; said goodbye to my cherished dog and cat; moved from my home where two children were raised and a family lived to a rental apartment; nursed my daughter through strep, H1N1 and mono that hospitalized her for a week – all in two months; cried at the finalization of my divorce; saw my job eliminated from a company I helped form 19 years ago with my ex-husband; bought a brand new home with a mortgage all my own and settled in… and finally found myself on the other side of Hell. So what does one do at this juncture? Well, Tahiti makes perfect sense to me. So here I am, with bags packed, ready to take the first steps on this new path in my life aboard the M/S Paul Gauguin, of Paul Gauguin Cruises. I have been told it is known as “The Bentley of the Seas!” I have never felt so excited…I wonder what this will bring…
While it was a crazy day getting all of the last minute things done to leave I actually pulled it off, and thanks to the kindness of my friend Tami, I made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Of course I remembered everything but my vitamins and supplements but my friends Nancy and Wendy will be glad to know I did not forget my panties! Priorities!
With time to spare, and then a delayed flight, the Mile High Bar took good care of me (now get your mind out of the proverbial gutter, it was a bar in the airport not a club at 38,000 feet!) Two Pinot Grigio’s later I took a picture of my travel feet, stealing my friend Robert’s idea, and stepped on the airplane to Los Angeles, where I drank some really, really bad six-dollar United Airlines Cabernet. I had time to read about the history of Tahiti and the French Polynesian culture in my guidebook, which was fun and fascinating. I don’t know, but something about the early, wanton years of the Islands has me excited! Not to mention the overwhelming opinion of so many over the years that these Islands are considered to be the most beautiful in the world. I am so excited to see them with my own eyes!
After a quick and easy flight and shuttle to my hotel, I enjoyed dinner and drinks with a woman who has known me since the 8th grade, my dear friend Jay Howarth. I was a cheerleader with pigtails and she was, in my young eyes, the goddess of United Spirit Association Cheerleading (USA) . She told me then at the ripe old age of 12 that she would hire me one day, and five years later she did just that. It was the start of a great run with USA and a long-term friendship that I enjoy to this day. After more wine (yes, that would be MORE) and a wonderful dinner and conversation I realized that Jay has always and always will inspire me. She has since that first day at cheerleading camp so many years ago, and her words of wisdom, insights and pure joy for life sent me to lala land a happy woman. OK, the wine helped too, but the uplifting and insightful dinner with Jay left me in an incredibly positive and empowered mood. Thank you my friend! Your company and wisdom always leave me in a better place, both emotionally and spiritually.
I headed to bed so pumped up for what was to come I doubted I would find sleep. I was, after all, mere hours away from being in a place that I had only ever fantasized about; a place I never, ever thought I would travel to in my lifetime. Was this really happening? To ME? I fell asleep thinking I was already dreaming, with my eyes wide open…and smiled as I realized that my dream was coming true.