So Hard to Leave; So Great to Arrive!

Published: September 30th 2010
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Childhood Hometowns

Lived in 20 cities as a Navy brat growing up. Now, I'm a travel addict.

Santa Barbara sunsetSanta Barbara sunsetSanta Barbara sunset

Santa Barbara sunset

Rise up nimbly
and go on your strange journey
to the ocean of meanings.

The stream knows
it can't stay on the mountain.
Leave and don't look away
from the sun as you go,
in whose light
you're sometimes crescent,
sometimes full.

Was that nimbly that I left my beloved Mission Canyon home with views of the mountains and ocean and sounds of birds, frogs, coyotes and the Mission Creek? One minute, I was out the door with excitement after reading of South American adventures, while the next, I couldn’t imagine leaving my friends and the deer, bobcats and coyote who visited my mountain abode. I hate leaving, but I love arriving in new places.

After all, I lived in Santa Barbara, the Garden City of eternal spring where I stepped out my door and was on a mountain trail or drove ten minutes and was at my favorite dog beach. What could be better than the patios, paseos, and red-tiled roofs? I knew the passing of seasons by which flowering trees were in bloom; ah, yellow acacia--time for my Pisces birthday.

Yet a year before, I had once again been evacuated from my canyon
Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraSanta Barbara

Queen of the missons
home as a fire raged in the foothills. As the evening news showed the Jesusita fire consume the house next door and inhale our trees and hedges, a seed was planted, “Ah, no house, no more possessions; I’ll head to South America.”

However, the fire only licked our doors, so I stayed to watch the rebirth of the barren, ash-covered hills. As so often is the case, we were graced with unimagined silver linings of the clouds of destruction. Winter rains hastened the forests’ regrowth and domestic sunflowers and morning glories migrated up to the mountains. Then spring was a riot of wildflowers.

A second disaster helped the South American seed germinate and sprout. My beloved Santa Barbara City College, perched on the cliffs above the yacht harbor, was feeling the blows of California’s economic woes and having to cut classes in all departments.

My English as a Second Language classes disappeared and rather than trying to gain others, I decided to let those part-time teachers with children and mortgages take the classes, and I’d take money saved for my retirement, explore the Americas and have some great memories to treasure.

Dear friends helped me get
from my backyardfrom my backyardfrom my backyard

to South America
rid of lots of possessions and pack up and store the rest. When I return from two or three years of slow travel, I’ll hopefully rejoin my fabulous colleagues at SBCC and teach English to sweet, motivated, immigrant and foreign students. Hope springs eternal!

And as JRR Tolkkien succinctly said, “All who wander are not lost.” My journey will be filled with Rumi’s crescents and fulls, but I’ll keep my eyes on my inner sun and hopefully return to Santa Barbara with new meanings to this great adventure of life.

Additional photos below
Photos: 21, Displayed: 21


I Madonnari I Madonnari
I Madonnari

Street painting festival
Jesusita fireJesusita fire
Jesusita fire

street painting
Virgin of the artifactsVirgin of the artifacts
Virgin of the artifacts

found in the ashes

13th October 2010

Just returned from a fabulous time in Brasil..Loved your picture in front of the I. Falls. That was our first destination..Brazil and Argentine sides...both spectacular....Still have jet lag --trying to catch up with so many e-mails..It looks like you have really trimmed down! It's awfully quiet here in S.B. compared to Brasil. Will be looking forward to reading your blogs...Love, Gladys

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