3341 miles/ 1376 songs/ 2 weeks

I recently returned from a two-week road trip down the east coast. I decided after a two-year hiatus from my solo trip (one because of Covid) that it was time to start it up again at a different resort. If you’ve read any of my previous posts about my solo vacation you’ll know why. Since I live in the northeast for now, I thought it would be fun to stop along the way to visit old friends that I haven’t seen in way too long that live in various places in the east.

What I found fascinating about this was the way that each of these people came into my life and as such, who I am to them- how they know me. They each know a different person since they were each present at a different part of my journey. Who Natalie is to one, is not who she is to another. A couple of them were there for the same time frame, but in such different capacities that it might as well have been two different lifetimes. It was interesting to see myself through their eyes and relive what has been such a long, full life, and yet is only just beginning.

The most beautiful part was seeing how they have all transformed over the years, and the way it felt like no time had passed at all between us, when in fact for a couple it had been at least a decade since we’d seen each other. Each stop was a whirlwind of memories: pain, joy, friendship, and love. It’s a special gift to have people in your life who accept you no matter how long it’s been, wherever you are on your journey, and with whatever changes have been made to who you are- to feel the love they have for you and know it will live on for many years to come.

After reconnecting with so many people, my days in Florida that made up my solo portion were so much different this time than they have been in the past. I noticed I didn’t need as much time to decompress. I didn’t have so much on my mind to work through. It was one of the first trips I’ve taken in the last 7 years that I didn’t have to do any online or phone interviews during, which was in itself a blessing. I went on a trip knowing what was waiting for me when I got back. What an incredible feeling that was. I had no relationship drama, no turmoil to dissect and over-analyze. Those days were solely for downtime and my enjoyment, to treat myself to delicious food and experiences, not for life recovery or escape. I can’t think of a time in my life when I’ve ever really been able to say that. I almost felt like something was wrong because nothing was wrong! That gave me a lot to think about in terms of how I want to live moving forward. Learning how to embrace a life that is beautiful and perfectly imperfect where everything is as it should be rather than seeking out something else to fix. Stop putting my attention on other things and just be. Bask in the silence of the present moment and recognize how gorgeous that sound is.

It helped that as I moved along the road from state to state between each of these stops, I was blessed with incredible scenery seeing some of this country’s most breathtaking offerings. It forced me to pay attention and allowed me time to process each visit, treasure it fully, and get refreshed and ready for the next. It also set me up for this new perspective. I’ve spent a lot of time since I’ve been back in silence just allowing my mind to be. At times it’s made me antsy, which lets me know how much I have yet to learn and grow. At other times, I feel a sense of peace that I haven’t felt in so long. My life is on the precipice of change- amazing changes that I am so excited for, so it’s important that I allow myself this time. If I’m lucky, this state of peace will become such a habit that I’ll be able to take it with me on the next journey. Here’s hoping 🙂

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