By Carole Hemingway
I’ve been fortunate to have lived in so many beautiful places after my second divorce. At the time, I put all my worldly possessions into storage and decided to live out of a suitcase for the next 17 years. With no possessions to drag me down, I reinvented myself and decided to see as much of the world as I could, starting with a one-way ticket to London.
In 2012 I had open-heart surgery—a triple bypass—blessed with a heart surgeon who gave me a second chance at life. I recently had a full, right knee replacement; rehab was long, labor-intensive, and painful.
With major surgeries behind me, I’m not about to think about retirement. I’m thinking of more traveling, more adventure, more exploring.
I never entertained a ‘lack of’ mentality. Never worried about lack of time, money, or other resources because instead of building a wall around myself, I allowed abundance to enter my life. Moving through life with a mentality of abundance, God sent me a tsunami wave to fulfill my dreams of travel, and I’m not done yet.
If you were to ask me why travel became my compass or why I continue to want to pack up yet another suitcase, I look at today’s world around me and would answer with a sincere heart, “back in 1985 I finally risked letting go and that gesture opened a door that allowed abundance to rush in.”
I was able to decide how to interact with the state I find myself in. I would rather live in this state of mind than have the feeling that things are never enough. Now, after my full recovery, I’ll be itching to get back my strength, perhaps a love partner will join me to share my journey with zest for immeasurable joy.
If there is one thing I’ve learned in this life, it is as my doctor said to me one day before my knee surgery, “attitude is everything.” It doesn’t matter whether you drive a Mercedes or a Chevy, live in a mansion or a townhouse like mine, eat caviar or catfish. What goes on has a lot to do with what happens on the inside. The key to abundance, for me anyway, is RELEASE and see what happens next. In the past I’ve been pleasantly surprised at my courage to finally let abundance wrap itself around me and burst forth into my life, welcomed with open arms.
Before this year officially ends on the calendar, I’ll grab my passport and think about my next adventure, the one that has invaded my dreams for the past 35 nights as I tried to get comfortable on my magical white couch. The dreams are leading me to a place where I must be brave. I love “Out of Africa” and the romantic vision of living in a house like Karen Blixen’s, perhaps close to three volcanoes. I also love coffee and I know coffee plantations thrive on the slopes of volcanoes.
Freezing to death in winters in Maine the past 23 years doesn’t appeal to me, it never did. So I’m thinking out loud here about buying a ticket to Guatemala and sunny winter weather to take me in its arms, a cozy, up close and personal experience near the equator. Thin blankets at night. I can get a tan. I’m never going to be a little old lady traveling on one of those boring cruises. I prefer to be greeted with huge smiles from the locals, wearing colorful dresses. I want someone to teach me cool things, such as facts not listed in flashy brochures, and someone willing to just make friends with a stranger from Maine.
If I am lucky enough to be in Guatemala this Christmas, it has to include a coffee tour in Antigua. Then there’s the Mayan Culture and Tikal or El Mirador could pique my interest; covered in a jungle atmosphere. My father lived in Cuba, not far from Guatemala (808 miles the way the crow flies). Why shouldn’t his daughter be curious enough to fall into his footsteps for this pure experience?
One place that is definitely on my bucket list is Casa Jackson, where I’d love to volunteer and spend time cuddling, feeding, changing diapers, and to experience life-changing moments with tiny babies who need lots of love and emotional support.
What doesn’t kill us does make us stronger. I’m ready for the next abundant chapter in my life.
Carole Hemingway is an internationally regarded author, speaker, and historical researcher. She currently lives along the coast of Maine where she is writing a book about Gettysburg and waiting to publish another book about her father, Ernest.