Friday, July 04, 2008

Vacation Reflections - Part Two: Traveling Alone. Sort of.

“You mean you’re NOT bringing your family? Not even your wife?”

Nope. In fact this trip was her idea.

“You’re going to Mexico by yourself!?”


“Aren’t you going to be lonely?”

Hi, my name is Kevin. Clearly we haven’t met before.


I wasn’t the only person traveling alone. I was surprised by how many people chose to voyage unencumbered.

N was tired and needed a break. Young, blonde, and alone, folks speculated as to why she chose to travel to a Mexican getaway without a partner – or a friend.

“Some people think I’m looking for a fling,” she said.

“Let me guess” (I’m not immune to speculation) “You just came out of a difficult relationship and needed to clear your head, get a new perspective, do some personal reflecting.”

“No, I’m not mending a broken heart,” she said. “I was tired. So I went to Air Canada Vacations, clicked on ‘Last Minute Deals’ and chose the cheapest package.”

What a great idea!

If she was looking for a fling, she wouldn’t have had to look far in finding a willing accomplice. A 53-year-old married Canadian man (traveling alone) brazenly offered to share her room with her. Young Mexican men followed her around the hotel. The waiters at the hotel Lobby Bar doted on her making it impossible for her to have a moment’s peace with the book she wanted to read while sipping her drink.

“Sex is the last thing on my mind,” she said. “I’m here to rest.”

I felt badly for her. Between the unwanted sexual attention and her food poisoning (she must be the only person in history who LOST weight while on an all-inclusive vacation), I worried that the week would be a write-off for her.

But no. She dealt with it. And got on with her week.

I ate a few meals with her and sat next to her on a side trip. But for me, chatting on the way home (Executive Class, no less.) was a highlight of my week. We talked almost the entire 5 hour plane ride.

What I experienced in her while we talked was a strong sense of life, of creativity, gentle joy, and deep reflection. That’s why I can say I see God in her and in her life. Whenever we create, whether it’s a painting, a book, a garden, a friendship, or a child, we partner with God’s creative impulse. And I saw that partnership in her.

I’ve said I before, but in my job, I get to have a front row seat when God starts to work. I was glad, this time, to be in the next seat over.

So, maybe I wasn't traveling alone after all.

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