Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Shifting Gears, Cruising Past 70

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Shifting Gears, Cruising Past 70

utmost peace in the Arctic Circle, Yukon, Canada

My first post was written on January 29, 2010:“Cruising to a Life Together…of Cruising”

The time has come to shift gears. I have just completed writing about my travels in 2017 and 2018 is all about slowing down. I hinted about this in my end-of-year piece that reflected on the year that was. With this, my Post #383, I shift to writing more of travel essays, not travel diaries (records of what I did in a place or trip) or travel guides (information one must know about them). Instead, I begin to write about why they moved me. I will share the inner journey, the one that is not obvious, the one that may raise the art of living.

Actually, in the last 13 months, I have noticed this shift. I wrote four such pieces out of twenty-six:
April 24, 2017 “Manong and the Jeepney”
January 19, 2017 “Accidental Pilgrims” 
December 8, 2016 “Chasing a Photograph”

There must be something about turning 70 that heightens introspection. Maybe the brain and body can handle only so much and we begin to encounter pauses that come with increasing frequency. There’s also something about a 10th wedding anniversary that says, “You’ve made it!” You see, I have never been married that long. It seems that I have definitely become a wife, caring about another person sometimes even more than myself. And there’s something about not being always on the go. One gets more time and space to think and feel. 

crippling fear in Tampa, Florida

It begins with the traveler’s realization that there is something regarding the place or journey truly worth writing about and sharing with others. A travel essay is not simply about a destination or a trip. It’s about what the writer may discover about life and herself. It does not always have to be a big AHA moment but it is an awakening nevertheless, however small. It is a reminder that life, as it ticks on, truly enraptures. And it requires that the writer be brave enough to reveal more, to be vulnerable.

extreme wonder in Anchorage, Alaska

It’s like the utmost peace I felt when Bill and I reached the Arctic Circle north of Dawson on the Yukon in our first RV, a 24-foot Class C I fondly called Star. Or the crippling fear I had Christmas of 2010 in the beautiful beaches of Tampa, Florida when my one and a half-year-old groom suffered a heart attack. Or when I froze in the cold to watch in extreme wonder the dance of the Northern Lights from a hill in Anchorage, Alaska. Or when we oozed with great gratitude as we got lost in Mexico and were rescued by a duo of kindhearted men. Or when my loyalty to my native land, the Philippines, wavered as I felt increasingly drawn to America’s greatness in Concord, Massachusetts. It’s a series of revelations about who I truly am and can be.

great gratitude in Mexico

I will also write about the lessons we have learned as we shifted from RV cruising to a more settled lifestyle and still travel. It will include pieces on how exciting it is to be on the go when you are young(er) and how to find ways to relax and be secure while traveling even as you pile on the years and encounter more health issues. It will include discussions not only on the pace, the mode, and the style of travel but also on how to stretch the dollars so you don't have to chase them. It will include ideas on how to have fun without having to be in a new place all the time. 

wavering loyalty in Concord, Massachusetts

Carolina: Cruising to an American Dream was my first attempt at writing a book. But back in 2013-14 when I was writing it, I could not yet put a firm grip on what makes good writing. I zeroed in on the places and road trips of our 5-year fulltime RVing across North America. I eventually shared a few of my innermost thoughts and feelings. But I thought I had to describe in detail every step we took, every move we made.  So the book had many interesting pages but also some boring ones.

My next project, Carolina: Cruising Past 70, will be a compilation of travel essays. It will include the ones that will resonate most with you, my online audience. Today, I also rebrand this blog and I hope you come along with me on this last ride of mine. Maybe I can make a difference in the lives of those of you who discovered travel late in life and want to extend it until your last breath. It may also inspire those of you who discovered it early because you see that it can continue past 70.  

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