I’m just back from a nearly perfect adventure in my Favorite Place on Earth! Sure, I was there with an open wound which isn’t healing as fast as I want it to. And I had a little hissy fit on someone I love dearly and have since made amends with. But other than that, my trip to Southern Utah could not have gotten much better.
I went to all familiar places and did hikes that I have done at least a few times before. The weather was stunning. The scenery following suit is expected, and the reason I can’t get enough of being there. I cried when I saw the Utah sign in front of me, as well as when it was behind me, for two different reasons. I was even suitably inspired to consider putting a forgotten dream back on the agenda. All this brings me closer to making a life-altering decision!
Anyone who knows me knows that I love to travel. Fifty states, six Canadian provinces, forty-two countries, six continents, nearly fifty national parks worldwide. Some pretty good numbers, by any count! I’ve taken a lot of heat and have been accused of many odd things for loving my globetrotting, and for loving life in general. (Imagine!) But this isn’t the reason that I’m getting closer to making this life-altering decision.
Okay, okay. Enough teasing. Are you sitting down?
Southern Utah moves me so much, I’m considering shutting down all other travel and spending all my leisure time and money there. For starters, I will likely return in the summer, even though I had other plans. I’ve managed to work my personal Promised Land into an itinerary that includes knocking off two more national parks. (I’m trying to hike all U.S. national parks, and I’m more than half done!) This is the behavior of someone who can’t live fully without something. I’m using every and all excuses to be back there again! And I’m thinking that maybe it’s time to stop making excuses and just go.
Well, here’s my disclaimer. Not so long ago I rethought, rewrote, and put out my Bucket List. And there really are some items on it that need to be done. A train trip through the Swiss Alps is bought and paid for. I’m traveling to Antarctica, my seventh continent, later this year! Another cruise on that list is a priority for next summer. And I want to continue to hike those national parks and see my niece in South Carolina. But maybe some of the other entries on that Bucket List aren’t as important as spending as much time as I can in Southern Utah before my time is up.
My time being “up” is another reality that I have to take seriously. Because no matter what anyone wants to think or do or say, my diagnosis of Stage IV Lung Cancer is no joke. Yes, it is a sad truth in my life that some people think that it is something to laugh about, that it isn’t as “serious” as it sounds, because why would I still be running around the damn world if it was so serious? Herein lies a strange truth: I am the beneficiary of the changing face of cancer, and that allows me to live my life much the way I always have.
But I digress. This was supposed to be a post about Utah and me, not cancer and me, and I wouldn’t want the world to roll its eyes at me and sniff, “There she goes again, talking about stuff that make people cringe.” Yet, another truth is that when I talk about Utah and me, cancer always has to be included, whether I want it to or not.
Which leads me to the aforementioned “forgotten dream.”
At one time I planned to buy a small RV and go on a really long road trip after retirement, for as long as I wanted. Naturally, a great deal of my time would be spent in Southern Utah. I also planned to buy a home in a 55+ park, though I could never quite figure out how those two things went together, and why I would buy a home, then go out on the road and leave it behind. Before I could figure it out, my friend cancer came along and made both of them highly unlikely.
But here I am, blogging from my little house in the 55+ community. And in spite of open wounds and a cruddy diagnosis, it appears that I’ll only have to go to Boston every three months now as long as scans keep looking good. Which suddenly opens up that RV road tripping dream to me again, that cancer not so much crushed, but that I let go of and decided to just keep doing what I’ve been doing all along. As I traveled through my cherished Southern Utah I was inspired to think that maybe, just maybe, it’s still possible, and that I can come home to my beautiful little house in between trips. I’ve figured out the mystery of how those two dreams go together!
The verdict is still out on the RV. I have a big scan day coming up on Tuesday, the 2nd. If all goes well I’ll plan my next trip to my beautiful land. Meanwhile, please enjoy some pictures taken on my most recent trip.