What a week! I don’t know about you, but I’m glad we’ve made it to Friday and are seeing the weekend light at the end of the tunnel.
Here’s what I’ve been loving lately!
1.) I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying.
This week, my wonderful mother-in-law sent me this article about a man who has made it his mission to show his wife the world despite her having suffered a debilitating brain aneurysm. Refusing doctors’ recommendations to place his wife, Donna, in a nursing home, Andy Fierlit has stayed true to the “in sickness and in health” part of his wedding vows and has taken her to over twenty countries and all seven continents instead.
While the traveling part of this article is impressive, I was more amazed by the love and sacrifice that Andy has shown than the fact that they have racked up so many passport stamps. I can’t imagine the physical and emotional challenges that come with caring for a partially paralyzed spouse and how dramatically their lives changed after Donna’s aneurysm. It certainly would have been easier to turn her over to professional care, but the fact that Andy took it upon himself to not only provide for his wife’s significant physical needs but to give her an extraordinary life despite them is deeply touching. I can only pray that should – heaven forbid – something happen to M, I would have the same strength and fortitude to continue to give him the life I promised him on our wedding day, and vice versa.
And the part that made me smile most? Donna’s name for her wheelchair.
“Proud Mary… Because she keeps on rolling.”
For more inspiring stories of people who continue to pursue a love of travel despite physical limitations, or information about how to travel with a disability, check out the excellent blog Curb Free with Cory Lee and his “Wheelie Inspiring Interviews.”
2.) Going Through Old Travel Photos
This week’s post on the best time to travel to Alaska had me digging through three years’ worth of photographs to find the right shots to exemplify some of my favorite seasons in the Great Land. I have thousands of pictures from all across Alaska and the Yukon, and each one attached to a memory from some of the best summers of my life. Faces that I haven’t seen in person in years smiled up at me, landscapes spread across the computer screen in a limited capture of the vastness of the Alaskan wilderness, and I was reminded of memories like outrunning a forest fire in our motorcoach, camping in the wilds of the Chugach mountains, or spotting a wolf among the fall colors in Denali National Park. It was such fun to reminisce and relive those moments, and I can’t wait to share more of them with you through Full Life, Full Passport.
I love losing myself in old photographs. Can you relate? They don’t even have to be of trips I’ve taken, though the memories associated with those are usually particularly fond. I love perusing scrapbooks from my high school years, thumbing through the photo albums my mom kept of myself and my siblings growing up, and diving into the black hole of pictures I posted on Facebook in college. It’s fun to relive those moments, as well as to see how much I or my life has changed since then. (At the very least, I’ve certainly come a long way fashion-wise.)
3.) Friends Who are There When You Need Them
I’ll be honest, folks. I had a bit of a rough start to the week. Not only was Monday dreary and cold, but some things I was hoping for didn’t pan out and it generally was just one of those Alexander-like days. (You know the kind: terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad?) I was tempted to just plunge myself under the covers, turn on Netflix, and just wait for Monday to be over.
Ok, fine. I did allow myself an hour or so of that exact scenario. Sometimes you just gotta wallow, y’all.
Thankfully, I had some friends who really came through for me and helped pull me out of my funk. From an offer from one girlfriend of a trip to Costco and The Container Store (how can you be sad when given the opportunity for free samples and organizational heaven?), to another bringing her three adorable boys over for some chocolate chip cookie baking, some of my favorite ladies really helped turn the day around.
These are the kinds of relationships that contributed to bringing me off the road and away from my nomadic lifestyle, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I loved traveling the world with no strings attached, but sometimes it got lonely. When my grandfather passed away while I was working in Alaska, there was no one in town to help me stuff my face with
raw eggs cookie dough and tell me that it was going to be ok. When small bouts of depression hit while I was backpacking, the two guys I was traveling with – wonderful people that they are – were still no substitute for a girlfriend who would be willing to wander aisles of plastic containers while listening to me word vomit my woes.
Thank you to those of you who were there for me this week when the Mondays got the best of me. Thank you to the numerous other friends near and far who have supported me in your own ways in different seasons of my life. The gift of great friendship is a tremendous blessing indeed, and I can only hope that I have or will one day repay you in kind.
So that’s it! Another week in the books. Have a fantastic weekend, and thanks for spending some time with me!
What have you been loving lately?
What is inspiring you right now?
What do you do with old travel photos?
Did you miss Week 9? Check out what I was loving last week!
When to Visit Alaska
De-Stress Your Airport Experience with Global Entry