I woke up on this Christmas morning thinking of my grandkids and great grandkids opening their presents and wishing I could see that. This is just one of the holidays I’m not with them since I gave in to my wanderlust and fulfilled my lifelong dream of travel in 2001.
I realized that the first time I was without family at Christmas was when I lived in Maui. That was my first “crazy” dream long before I had even heard of fulltime RVing. I had always been fascinated with Hawaii even as a kid. One of my first memories as a small child was walking down Magazine Street holding my mom’s hand and seeing a picture poster of Hawaii in a travel agency window. I looked up at her and asked if we could please go there. The look on her face when she looked down conveyed clearly to me how impossible that was. I think my lasting impression was that poor people like us didn’t go to places like that.
But dozens of years later as a grownup, a wonderful boyfriend took me on vacation to Maui and it was one of the most exciting things I had ever experienced. So much so that when I knew I couldn’t afford to keep visiting there, I decided to move there! I look back on that now and marvel that I actually pulled that off in 1987 – long before the Internet made research so easy and without Facebook friends to call on for info and advice.
I lived and worked there from 1987 to 1991 when my first granddaughter was born, which drew me back to Austin. Since my pictures from then are stored in albums with my daughter (before digital cameras), the ones below are from a visit back there in 2004 during a visit with my youngest daughter. (Click pics for larger size in separate window.)
Maui truly was a magical time for me when I lived in Kihea and Ka’anapali, Christmas or not. Being kissed by clouds rolling across Haleakala, doused by waterfalls on the winding road to Hana, or standing beside black rocks and being surprised by ocean waves at Waiʻanapanapa was truly one of the most memorable times of my entire life.
And yep, believe it or not, I actually did learn to pronounce all those words! 🙂
I remember being thrilled to see my first palm tree decorated as a Christmas tree, that I could wear a bathing suit and swim in the ocean on Christmas day and send out Mele Kalikimaka cards and how just saying that always made me smile.
I think it was partly that experience and how I made that dream come true despite all odds that gave me the courage and conviction that I could become a fulltime RVer in 2001. For the rest of that story, see my first website, Inspiration’s Journey.
It was the best of times when I was first traveling alongside my best friend, Don, him in his Airstream while he helped me learn the ins and outs of traveling and living in my first motorhome. Our Christmas here was in Charleston and I think Don took this shot with one of the first Sony digital cameras out at the time, so I can’t get the grainy out. But look at that feast made in my little motorhome kitchen – and that huge smile!
My first White Christmas ever was at Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood in my favorite state, Oregon. It was the first time I had ever seen people snow ski and I remember everyone laughing at my squeals of delight with the snow globs falling from the tree and throwing snowballs!
So, yes, while I have made it back to Texas many times to celebrate with them, I do miss out on the family joys of Christmas some years. But I am so thankful that I am blessed with their understanding of my love of travel and that they are happy for me instead of trying to make me feel guilty about it. They’ve even said it inspires them and makes them believe in their ability to follow their own dreams. And the pride I have in myself that I could pull that off all these years with their total support of my crazy dreams is my most precious gift.
This year I’m in Tucson appreciating the desert more than I ever have before, since it’s my backyard. This gives a whole new meaning to the word Christmas Cactus! They’re having a big Christmas feast at the RV park, so I’m getting ready to head over there.
Merry Christmas to you all, my friends, whether home or home on the road!