I'm starting to plan a trip. To Hawaii. Yep! I've never been there, and I'm very excited about it. There is a bittersweetness to it, however.
The friend I'm going to be seeing and staying with there is someone with whom I went to school back in junior high and high school. We barely knew each other. I remember one exchange between us that stuck with me. He doesn't remember it. And he had no memory of my face, but remembered my name.
A year or so ago, we encountered each other on the internet through a fluke, one that we have never figured out. I was getting messages that "someone" was trying to contact me on classmates.com. Since I don't have a paid membership, I couldn't see who it was. When I clicked where I was supposed to find the name, it led me on a wild goose chase, and eventually his picture would pop up. But there was never a message.
I ignored this for months, thinking it was the site's efforts to get me to buy a membership, and that was probably right. Eventually, I sent him a message asking if he was actually trying to reach me. There was a strange, confusing and confused exchange of emails, until we decided that it was something meant to be.
In the ensuing months, we have communicated a lot. Most of it is now by phone, and we have often talked one or two hours at a stretch. A sweet, warm relationship has evolved over time, nothing romantic, but very tender. We began talking about visiting each other. He wanted to return to New Mexico, to visit the home ground, and he invited me to come to Hawaii.
He has a number of health problems, one is a form of Parkinson's, and he has known that his days of traveling are limited. For a man who has been all around the world, lived in the Himalayas at one time, this was a sobering realization. The health issues have worsened and multiplied. Currently, his blood pressure is out of control, from extremely high to dangerously low, which means he can't fly anywhere at this time. So when we were talking recently, he asked when I might come and I said I hoped to be able to financially justify it in January, and the disappointment in his "Oh," was something I picked up on. I asked him if he felt that would be too late. He said, "Maybe, I'm not sure, but I think I won't be here long." I checked with my psychic friend, and she suggested that I go sooner if I can. January would be OK, she said, but the sooner I go, the better for him.
So you see the bittersweet of it. I'll tell you, that is one thing that stinks about aging. Losing friends and family members comes faster and more frequently. This is the third found-late-in-life friend to have health issues this serious. I don't like that. I've already lost the other two. :(
I'm rearranging a number of things in my schedule to make a trip. Currently I think I will probably go late in October and stay a couple weeks. I'm hoping to be very creative in my packing and take just 5-6 changes of clothing so I can, I hope, pack in just a carry on. I say this mostly so I don't have to deal with checked (and possible lost) luggage. It would just make my trip more simple if I can do it. We'll see. I'm looking at my wardrobe for things that will pack small, shake out without a lot of care. Never in my life have I traveled that light, so this is a new experience and challenge for me.I think I can do it. I hope so!
Anyone have any tips on thrifty packing?