Once upon a time there was a young woman who traveled to a land far, far away. It was just after Christmas and she was in desperate need of some rest and recharging her batteries. All she wanted was just enough time to reflect on the year that had passed and to delight in what would be next, with the warmth of sunshine on her face (of course). Because you see, a little golden glow never hurt anyone.
I booked a last minute trip in November, never expecting for it to turn out as it had…in more ways than one. It truly was more fun than I’ve had in a while and wonderfully, beautifully eye opening- filled with little surprises and what I would consider affirmations. Little signs all over, a reminder that something bigger than me is around-and that each of us has an additional sense we may or may not yet understand. Many times I stop myself and wonder if other people are as hyper aware of things as I am…of sensations, of colors, textures, smells, smiles… I definitely wish it for all of you. That as you slow down, when given the opportunity (or by creating it 😉 you get to see how much is actually around you- in places, in people. I think it’s the greatest gift you can give yourself, to be in a moment and so incredibly grateful for all the things you do have and get to experience. As you get older, you actually realize those starving kids your parents made you shove peas down your throat for, they actually do exist- and they certainly don’t get palm trees or vacations.
And on vacations, there are passersby– people/things that you may never see again, that just happened by chance-or did they?
First there was a bird. On the beach, in my serenity…you know perfectly positioned with the sun for an even tan and obnoxiously relaxed, a friendly little bird decided to do a number on me. It was on the inside of my arm-without looking first I turned to my friend and laughed proclaiming what I was pretty sure was true, I had been pooped on. She was very enthusiastic as was everyone else I sent the picture to, “It’s good luck Li”..whether or not you believe in it is your own choice, it just happened to be pretty ironic. Thank you little bird, you really should have left your name or at least a feather so I can thank you for the fortune as it comes 😉 
Our first night at dinner as we drooled over the beautiful backdrop and anticipated where and what we would do first, a random stranger sent our table a bottle of bubbly. Insert first note- moms/grandmas/concerned adults reading this, it was of course sealed because I know well enough not to accept drinks from strangers. Second note- if you know me at all, you know that champagne is by far one of my favorite guilty pleasures. As in, the sound of a cork popping makes me smile bigger than anyone I know. My rationale is that typically, champagne is for happy, celebratory things 🙂 and to me life is celebratory enough, whether it’s a Tuesday night with good friends or new years eve. I should also say he was a sweet Russian man-a man I clearly will never see again…and he was wearing the same bracelet I had just finished complimenting someone for exactly one week before on that Thursday night in Westchester. Thanks for the champagne Mr. Russian man-it was delicious.
And then the champagne turned pink. I told two of my best friends before I left that I wanted the luxury of pink champagne while there, even if I had to treat myself to it. So remember I love to dance, and there was NO shortage of dancing on this trip- to be honest it was like the dj’s everywhere I went spun the play lists in my head. I hugged one..actually hugged him (okay my cousin knows Cedric Gervais and did tell me to go say hi, but it counts!). Since she’s so fabulous she also made sure my friends and I got into some swanky private cabana..where the champagne turned pink. Thank you cousin, thank you promoter, thank you world renowned dj for the beats. A little luxury never hurt anyone..especially not someone like me who is extremely grateful. And thank you to the server who smiled and looked really pretty doing it.
*Side note-at the resort I spent so much time in, even the waiters/waitresses/servers were freaking gorgeous- as in tan, toned and sexy-like if I married one of them, and people asked what my husband’s profession was I’d tell them he was a server and I was MORE than okay with it 😉
Perhaps the most poignant part of my trip was the last day…I spent the entire day alone because my flight was different than everyone else. I made my way down to the pool early to get in some last minute rays where another woman and I joked around trying to figure out where the sun would hit first and how we clearly shared a love of vitamin D. But then she became my favorite passerby. Her name was Nicole and she lives in Canada…I know nothing else besides her name, her profession and the city she lives in, we didn’t exchange contact information believe it or not, but now I realize maybe the interaction we had was enough. I certainly will not forget it, ever. Sometimes when your heart is open, other people can feel it and share with you so much more than you can ever imagine you would know about a stranger. Thank you Nicole.
She is living a second life in her forties. Nicole was married in her twenties and lost her husband in a car accident that she survived, an unthinkable scenario. She has a husband Malcom who I met, “Ay” and two teenage sons. We talked for three hours. The sun wasn’t strong..but the conversation was. Somehow she trusted enough to share that her nephew had taken his life recently and the fact that I counseled bereaved teenagers meant I would have some insight on how to help her surviving nephew, the brother of this young man. I was humbled that she would think so and by the fact that she felt she was “meant” to meet me, that I was an angel to her-those were her exact words. In the midst of sharing my own stories, a man came to the pool holding a hand carved guitar with intricacy like I’ve never seen. She complimented him and his art and he offered to sit and play us a song…when does this stuff happen? Of course besides the talent of his art and ability to sing/play the guitar I couldn’t help but think the tiger is my chinese zodiac sign.(hehe)
When we had to leave we shared the elevator, with other people in it too. Nicole first reached out her hand to say it was so nice to meet me, but then she decided it wasn’t enough and gave me a hug. A really nice hug-and said ‘I hope you have a beautiful life Lisa”. I tear up now thinking about it because little does she know how much those words mean to me, or how they’ll stay with me. Little does she know that I already do have a beautiful life, and it’s the interactions in everyday life the ordinary and extraordinary like the one with her that make it that way. My life is beautiful because I treasure it. I find nothing too small or too insignificant to make a fuss over. I’m a giant mush pot and cornball and I’m okay with it. 
Right before my flight I ate lunch on the 31st floor of a beautiful hotel where I could see the whole city. I ate my lunch slowly and sat for a while on a daybed, intoxicated with how incredible the last three days had been and all the people I had met when the waiter came over to check on me. Upon asking permission to take my time there.. he answered “Miss, you can do whatever you want- this is your kingdom and you are the queen”…true story. I can’t make this stuff up, I promise.
You know what? I may not be a queen, but this kingdom is a really beautiful place. This kingdom is full of passersby. The kind that leave footprints on my heart…

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