The day has finally arrived. I leave the Westside of Maui today; my home for the past 22 years. Although it feels like I will not be returning, life has a funny way of making liars of us all. I came to Maui from Salinas, California in July, 1987. Strangely, I left Salinas in the same bitter sweet way that I am leaving Maui, although in a completely different set of circumstances. I seem to come to an end in places where there is no more energy or spirit in that place for my wheels to turn. Writing this is hard, because I want to say what I have to say in a way that doesn't negate the good that I've experienced here. It's just all the air has gone out of the balloon for me on Maui. There are a list of reasons, and top of the list would be the loss of my love. Although I discovered Maui five years before I met Kent; he became the spirit of this island for me. He was my one true love, and love for him and love of Maui were one love. Sadly, that love has drifted into the ether with his spirit, leaving behind a wooden box filled with dry ashes now tucked away in a storage bin on the lanai. That is the way of life and endings, the drifting on of the past and the moving forward into the future. It is what we do. I can't predict how my feelings may change during the next eight months; I may wake up in some foreign land and feel an overwhelming desire to return to my home and friends on Maui. Leaving may show me a new view of memories that will draw me back to my island home, or I may find a new home.
Today ending this story of Maui, which has been a long, wonderful, brilliant, illuminating, sad beyond a broken heart telling. When I left Salinas, even though I was 38 years old, I was still a child. I had never had a real job for any length of time, never been in a long-term relationship, never been responsible to anyone; I was like a twenty-year old just going out into the world to make my way. I had moved back to Salinas after finishing college in Fresno, and even thought I tried to "fit" there, I just didn't. Through a series of interesting "coincidences"; a suggestion from a therapist, getting laid off my job, losing friendships, and having a friend who had a friend on Maui, I packed up my life and came to Maui to see what would happen. Maui is full of stories like mine, people who came here seeking their dreams. When I arrived, I didn't know the friends I would meet, the jobs I would have, the places I would live, the lover of my life I would meet on the road to Kihei; just as I do not know these things about the trip I am making now. I have found myself, at several times in my life, in situations where I have the freedom to take a huge leap of faith and jump off into the future. Each time I've taken that leap it has lead me to places that have become the mosiac of my life. I don't know what impels me, or what in the end would be the point of it all, but I do know that it is the truth of my life, and so....here I go again! Aloha Westside until we meet again! Bless you Maui for all you have shown me, and given me, and made of me. I take a piece of the island melded to my heart.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Interestingly, no one has really asked me why I'm taking this trip. For most it probably seems self-evident, after all I went through with Kent's illness. I actually have asked myself that question several times, in a number of different ways; through meditation, journaling, crying fits, and scoldings to myself which went something like, "oh my god are you kidding me you are going to give up your job, your home on Maui, your friends and family all to go off on a stupid trip and spend all that money, and probably come back broke, with some weird illness, and unable to ever be employed again...why can't you just take a vacation like any normal person?" I have asked myself to the center of myself, "why do you feel compeled to do this trip this way?" And there is not just one answer; there are a number of answers, all having to do with various ways of looking at my life right now. One answer is that I write short stories; and in my mind my life is like a series of short stories, which have a beginning, a middle, and an end. And the end of a story needs to be honored. Another answer in the negative is; I am not looking to find myself; or to find God. I've spent as much time finding myself, and seeking God as I plan to do in this lifetime. The closest I've come to the reason for this journey is to answer this question for myself, "okay, so what am I supposed to do with the rest of my life now?!" I want to answer this question moving through the world, seeing new sights, meeting new people, and having new experiences. I want to go out and walk about...for a while.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Actually the beginning was October 31, 2009 when my husband, Kent Matthew Gilbert, died. And end, and a beginning. That's when I first thought about retiring from my job of 18 years, and taking off from Maui where I've lived for 25 years; and traveling around the world. I thought of it, and talked about it, and thought how impossible it would be; and then I started surfing around the net, and found out it was not impossible. It was doable. Then I chickened out 2x, one time after I'd planned my itinerary and was ready to buy my ticket. Then I did some more soul-searching, and said "I really want to do this now". And so, I bought my ticket, made a budget, set up about 5 long 'to do' lists and got BUSY! Now, in a couple of weeks on July 31st, I will be on my way. And you will be on the way with me....Happy Trails.