Every single member of my family and all my close friends were involved in the planning. I could sense the exhilaration and the excitement as they put their heads together to make my big 50 a memorable one. They tried their level best to keep it a secret, but nothing escaped my sharp astute ears. I had this silly smile stuck on my face as I played pretend, I didn’t know exactly what they were up to but something special was cooking. I felt blessed and loved.
Realization dawned at 50! I had covered more than half my life, life had just whizzed by. The children had flown the nest and parents were at eternal rest. My days were no longer spent being the primary care giver, I had so much time on hand that I did not know what to do. I often spoke about my desire to travel, to explore the world in bits and pieces. I had never done that earlier, responsibilities, financial restrictions were always holding me back. I often spoke about what I dreamt my next decade would be like, short trips to explore new places, savor new cultures and cuisines, build beautiful memories. I had spent many hours watching travel channels, flipping through travel magazines and wishing I could someday visit those beautiful places. I wanted to travel, and I wanted to travel with my twin. She would undoubtedly be my ideal travel companion as we are like two peas in a pod, we were at a common threshold in our lives, we both had a common list of places we wanted to visit, we enjoyed similar activities. I had mentioned all this in passing but was not prepared for what I got.
The sweetest gesture came from our kids. They knew of my desire and presented us an all paid holiday. A small backpack was beautifully gift wrapped with the tickets and hotel documents and a little card said, “A SMALL BACKPACK WITH A HUGE APPETITE FOR NEW EXPERIENCES AND BEAUTIFUL MEMORIES”
The Wanderlust bug has truly bitten me, with every trip I have made I have gained in confidence as I single handedly plan every trip. My family is truly amazed at my energy as they often tell me to slow down. I never fail to remind them that I am not half a century old, but I have reached 25 a second time. I now treat the world as my new classroom where every place I visit I make new friends and build beautiful memories. My constant companions continue to be my 50th birthday present Backpack and duffle bag, my camera and most often than not my twin. We have taken seriously what the Dalai Lama said, “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.”