"If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads." - Anatole France
To say I've experienced change over the last three years would be a bit of an understatement. I mean, 2020 brought a "shake-up-the-snow-globe" effect on the lives of virtually everyone I know.
In my case, there were two huge shifts.
The first was closing the doors of the longtime home of my beautiful, wellness spa in Greensboro, NC - temporarily from March to August 2020 and then again permanently at the end of 2020. I still miss walking through our special red door into the peaceful atmosphere of love, acceptance, and healing my team and I created inside.
The second was saying goodbye to
Seymour, an irreplaceably special friend, client, confidant, and father figure of nearly three decades, who passed on in March 2021 at age 96. We met while I was a massage student and had a deep connection from pretty early on. I could always count on Seymour for wise counsel, a great story, and a good laugh. More than that, he was an enthusiastic supporter of my many ventures - business, creative, educational, whatever. I will love and miss him always.
Both losses cut deeply and effectively ended close relationships, beloved rituals, and comfortable routines, some of which had been woven into my life for decades. These changes, of course, came along with the many other adjustments, reframes, and pivots required to navigate a newly unfamiliar world.
At times I've felt like the tree in the photo below: ruthlessly knocked to the ground by an unexpected storm.
Yet like the tree, I have found ways to twist, stretch and do whatever else was needed to see the sky above and feel the sunlight washing over me again.
One of the first "twists" I made was actually a plunge into the creek in my backyard. If you haven't been here long, basically a group of 5 rubber ducks (well, 4 ducks and a whale) brought me out of a depression and gave new purpose in my life. One April Sunday, an impromptu rubber duck race unleashed a passion and wave of creativity that has continued to grow and expand like a tidal wave.
Now over three years later, those ducks travel with me where ever I speak and most everywhere else. I also write children's books about The Dream Team Ducks (more info on those later in this post) and am on a mission to grow their international celebrity status and influence enough to get them a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Totally serious! We believe!
Anyway, in the last year, I've also experienced some very positive personal through also unexpected transformations. I may write about those here or elsewhere someday. Or not.
For now, I'll just say that only the butterfly knows when it is ready to come out of the cocoon - and she has!
As part of "Operation Duck Star"- and attending to the needs of my newly released butterfly - I am on an unpredictable new path, which looks a lot like being on a road trip. With The Dream Team Ducks. In a convertible. Adorned with rubber ducks. Because it's fun and also I want to.
Check out an initial brainstorm:
Truly. there's more to the story than that and which deserves its own article. For now, I'll share the basic timeline of the road trip from the start until now in this post. In a future article, I'll dive into the origin and evolution of my "ducked-out" convertible idea and why bringing that daydream to life had to happen.
Note: At the time this road trip plan was hatched, I did not own a convertible or have any previously pending plans to buy one. However, I did have "a few" rubber ducks and some creative ideas about how to transform my future vehicle into a duck-mobile. Colorful luggage was an obvious must.
The Road Trip Begins The first big goal on this trip was to get to central Florida, where our whole summer was originally scheduled to take place. Having arranged to spend four months in the Sunshine State well before the road trip idea came along, I'd registered for a conference in late May in Tampa. Shortly after the conference, I'd also scheduled a flight out of the Orlando airport that I couldn't change. (More on that in a minute.)
So, The Dream Team Ducks (aka The Dream Team, TDTD or simply "the ducks") and I hit the road May 13th and drove to The Villages, Florida. Before anyone makes any of the usual comments I hear, I'll just mention that The Dream Team Ducks cannot vote, are not political, and do not own any loofahs. They do own a pineapple pool float, but that is pure coincidence. Bottom line: they are on their way to becoming children's book superstars, remember?! So get any other silly thoughts right out of your head!
On our way to Florida, we stopped in Gilbert, SC (near Columbia) to visit Susan, one of my oldest and dearest girlfriends, and her husband overnight before heading to St. Simon's Island, GA (one of my favorite beaches) and Brunswick, GA, home of the famous Lover's Oak. Wow, how I love this tree and the other gorgeous lives oaks around town!
We eventually made it to The Villages and enjoyed a very quick few days with Jesse & Joanna, two dear friends who have become a part of my family. Since we cemented our friendship more than ten years ago, their house - wherever it has been - has truly become my home away from home. I am so blessed!
After a few days of rest and reconnection, I took off for Tampa for an inspiring, uplifting, energizing weekend and the I CAN DO IT Conference put on by Hay House. The whole event was SO good, but the highlight for me was getting meet and hug Nancy Levin, an author whose books and poetry really resonate with me. I almost didn't make it into her class, but I am so glad availability changed and I got to see her.
After a few more days in Florida, I headed to the airport and flew to Boston. (Wait what, you thought this was a road trip, right?!) It's too much to detail it all here right now, so I'll just say that one of my children's books, Marathon Marshall & The Dream Team Ducks Go to Boston involves, well, The Dream Team going to Boston to meet Marathon Marshall at the start of the Boston Marathon.
Marathon Marshall is not just a character in a book. He is character based on a friend and colleague who ran in this year's Boston Marathon. Qualifying for and completing the race have been a focal point in Marshall creating The Jacquelyn Project and honoring his daughter, Jacquelyn, who died from breast cancer in 2022.
When he announced his training and fundraising goals, Marshall did in fact reach out for help in sharing the word. Of course, I knew the ducks had to be involved somehow, which eventually led to our little book and going to support Marshall in Boston. What an incredible event. If you ever have the chance to go, DO IT!
Though I wasn't in THE race - and had never even considered the possibility of running a marathon until I witnessed the excitement and glory that is the Boston Marathon - my cousin John and I ran in a small, free 5K known as ParkRun, which was held at Jamaica Park, the Saturday before Marathon Monday.
After the race, we went to downtown Jamaica Plain for a delicious breakfast at a local coffee shop. I took in the friendly, artsy vibe of the area and the relative calm of the area compared to other parts of the city I'd been in. As we headed back to John's condo, I couldn't help thinking how much I'd enjoy coming back to explore the park and town more on my own. So when I found out about a chance to house-sit in Jamaica Plain for 2 weeks in May/June, I could not turn it down and my Florida summer began to shorten.
Obviously, as they would for most people, making plans to come back to Boston progressed - quite logically, I think - into me buying a convertible, decorating it with rubber ducks, and driving it around New England, the East Coast and/or wherever we feel like going.
In all seriousness, this may or not make sense to you. But that's your concern, not mine.
I'm not on this road trip for anyone but myself (well and TDTD, because, you know, the Star Project.) And I mean, if the idea of turning one of your own elaborate or outrageously-different-from-your-daily-life daydreams doesn't call to your spirit just a wee little bit, you probably stopped reading a long time ago.
But if you've still here, then maybe you get it.
If you've ever felt a deep unquenchable thirst to do something which goes against the norm; an endeavor which, as you pursue it, people you love literally question your sanity - to your face - yet continue on you must, then you have an idea of why this journey was inevitable.
Though different, it is similar to what I experienced when I became a massage therapist almost 30 years ago. Friends, colleagues and close relations (only some, not all) expressed concern, disappointment and disbelief in my plans. Their words hurt but I still knew I was the right path for me.
That confident pursuit of what my intuition and spirit called me to do positively changed my life and career in ways I could have never imagined and has touched the careers and lives of literally tens of thousands of others who have read my books, articles or blogs; heard me speak from a stage, podcast or online radio; been in my spas as a client or colleague; attended my classes around the US and world; been a coaching or consulting client; or maybe even been on my massage table.
Note: For at least the last six or seven years, I've spent the first weekend in June teaching at Premiere Beauty Orlando, an internationally attended spa industry show where I've impacted hundreds of students. For whatever reason, it didn't work out for me to teach there this year. Initially I was sad, because I love seeing my regulars and spending time with my longtime teaching assistants. However, that closed door allowed me to be on this trip. So instead I say THANK YOU! Everything is always working out for me!
So, Where's the Car?
I've been in Boston for about 10 days and am still patiently awaiting the right drop top. After an initial plan of buying a used Miata or any other pre-owned convertible with heated seats, I realized I would need a safer, more comfortable ride, especially if my road trip extended beyond very short trips of only a few days.
Since my current luggage would require its' own Miata, I am now seeking an Audi S5 who is eagerly seeking me. I've ogled dozens of models online, test driven several, seriously looked at a few others, and even considered having one that met most of my wish list shipped here from Colorado, sight unseen.
But sometimes, life can have a funny way of slowing time down when you're in desire of something really BIG. This type of thing used to frustrate me a lot more than it does now. Over time, however, I've come to believe that these slowdowns happen to give us time to prepare ourselves, to become the people, who can manage those big things, and/or to be connected with the right opportunity/person/event and not some a lookalike.
To me, it's not a hold-up as much as it is a "Hold on! This ride's about to get really fun!"
Today, I am driving the contender above and another one that just popped up from a private seller I hadn't seen before. Perhaps time slowed down for them too, paused long enough for their perfect buyer to find them, and for this seller to be ready for their own new exciting adventure. I'm so thrilled for them, especially if I am their perfect buyer, because I love to see people get what they want and have win-win stories!
Maybe by this time tomorrow we'll both be on another new fun, yet unfamiliar road.
Just in case, I'm going to go ahead and say THANK YOU to the Universe for my new car! I've loved her since she became an idea in my mind and believed she was on her way to me. I can't wait for our first ride and exploring the unknown road ahead - together!