Well I left my happy home to see what I could find out
I left my folk & friends with the aim to clear my mind out
While on a recent trip to see my parents in the old hometown, I had the customary lunch with my friend Beth. We have been friends for more than 50 years, and while we are not in touch all the time, about every 18 months we have lunch (usually here) and do a catch-up-information-download/meeting-of-the-minds calibration thing.
Beth and I are a mutual admiration society. She has risen through formidable ranks in her chosen profession in academia, and I am so proud of her. She was interested in my upcoming sabbatical travel plans, and was surprised I wasn’t scared to be traveling alone. (I’ll tell what would scare me: being a college professor. So. Like I said: mutual admiration.)
My lunch with Beth got me thinking. What a great thing to admire a friend for her courage! Also, though: why not go ahead and push yourself to do things that you think are scary? One of my heroes, Georgia O’Keeffe, said once: ‘I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.’ Now that’s the spirit!
I start a six-week walkabout/journey/pilgrimage on Thursday May 19, 2016, traveling mostly solo. My travels will take me first to Dublin, Galway, and Edinburgh with my two grown children. Then, I will travel alone around the borderlands of northeast England and the Tyne River valley, whence my family surname comes. I will retreat for three days on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. A jump to extreme southwest England will allow me to do some genealogical research on my closest English antecedent, who died in 1673 and was an Anglican vicar named John Tindall. I get to stay three nights in the Salisbury Cathedral Close, (a key location in my favorite novel, Susan Howatch’s Glittering Images.) THEN I am so psyched to have a ticket for a private tour of Stonehenge (and the haters can just shut up about it.) Finally, after three days in London, comes the pièce de résistance: a 10-day course at St. George’s College, Jerusalem.
Seeing it all in one paragraph is rather dizzying. However, now that the itinerary is set, I am consciously settling into pilgrimage mode. I plan to travel with intention, and to push beyond my comfort zone(s). Traveling alone encourages mindfulness through the senses and conversation with strangers. I hope to eat new things, listen to live music, and laugh a lot. I will be re-purposing this blog in order to share the journey on a nearly daily basis. I hope to learn some things about others, and about myself. I will be on the road to find out.
Well I hit the rowdy road and many kinds I met there
Many stories told me of the way to get there
So on and on I go; the seconds tick the time out
There’s so much left to know and I’m on the road to find out (Cat Stevens)