Through the magic of social media, I reconnected several years ago with my high school friend Michele, and bonded through our common love of traveling.
I knew Michele was worldly in school. And preppy. It was 1980, after all. She had a coolness about her that few people have naturally. And I admired that in her, especially since I am the opposite of cool, and unfortunately never knew it until later in life. That means I was not only clueless as to my lack of coolness in high school, but my inherent cluelessness probably means it was even worse than I imagine :-). Michele had a good many friends then, and judging from the outpouring of love and support she's received in the past week since she's been in the hospital, she has many more.
But as things go in life, the tighter connections that people establish later on in life as they move away from those high school days tend to reveal the deeper and more significant aspects of themselves.
And when I realized several years ago that she shared my gypsy personality, a friendship was rekindled amidst our mutual love of wandering, moving, never content to settle in one place for very long. I think we both know that our constant wanderlust is more about discovering ourselves and our place in the world, and there's comfort knowing you're not alone in that.
So I was naturally disappointed when I got a phone call on the road three years ago from my office telling me there was a visitor there I had just missed. The girl on the other end of the phone said "this is a blast from your past, Lori" and it was Michele. We hadn't seen each other for 30 years, and she'd dropped by to see me in Virginia on her way to D.C. from her new home in Alabama. And I was literally on my way to the airport and Italy for the next few weeks. I was disappointed I wasn't there to see her, yet absolutely amazed and overjoyed at how indicative this was of our lives and the common thread running through our friendship, and how utterly grateful I was at that moment for our gypsy souls.
Michele and I have been talking about meeting up in Bali, one of my favorite places. People there show gratitude and devotion every day, several times a day, for the blessings they receive. It's an amazing culture. With fragrant frangipani flowers dipped in water, they sprinkle the water to bless every entry of their homes, their cars, their motorcycles, and even themselves, sending prayers to the gods for protection from harm, and giving thanks for the blessings they receive.
So I'm doing that today for Michele - hoping my words reach her, and remind her to hold fast to this life. I ask the gods to give her strength, and I thank them for the many gifts of love and friendship that surround her.
And most especially, I thank them for the wanderlust in her soul, my soul, and the many others who share her heart, or this affliction known as wanderlust :-). Because there's still so much more. There's love to be shared, and reunions to be had, and travels and laughter to enjoy. There are dives yet to make, mountains to climb, seas to sail, worlds to explore.
And there's Bali.
With fragrant blooms waiting to be held every day, and grateful offerings to be made.
Thinking of you, Michele, and looking forward to one day traveling together. Any place. Your call.