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The Prism Effect of Travel


Last night, two unusual things happened: We gathered for dinner with friends, and we talked of traveling. Those assembled were no strangers to world travel, but for the past year we had all been grounded due to Covid. Ostensibly we had gathered to discuss our upcoming life-changing travel to a sailboat in Grenada, but I turned to one friend and asked, “What are your travel plans going to be like in the upcoming year?”


It was an opportunity to deflect some of the focus on our decision, because we are fast reaching “prism time” in our preparations, the time when all the colors of the rainbow will be channeled through a prism and turned into a single beam of white light—or, if you like a differing perspective, the time when the white light of our lives will be pushed through a prism, exploding out the other side in a riot of colors and experiences.


We feel now quite in the middle of things: in the middle of our preparations, in the middle of our children’s lives, in the middle of our parents’ and other family members’ lives, in the middle of work, and everything is revolving around us. It’s not a selfish position; rather, we realize how connected we actually are when we try to un-connect. And though the connectivity of the modern world makes our ability to disappear all but impossible, there is still an element of separation that we are experiencing with our lives as we have known them over the past 21 years.


Part of that is the sheer number of moving parts involved: having the idea to do this in the first place, listing our house for sale, shopping remotely for a sailboat, buying the boat, selling the house, moving, coordinating with our sons, sharing with our friends, researching the everloving-bejeezums out of the logistics of this endeavor (real nitty-gritty sailboat stuff that I will explore in detail in a later post), and the endless-but-welcomed bon voyage parties.


It all points to a day, the day we get on a plane and fly to Grenada, and after some quarantining, climb aboard our sailboat, S/V Camino. After that, we just don’t know. Some things are certain: boatwork, sailing instruction, learning about Grenada, enough to keep us busy for six months. But after that…we know nothing.


So we wait out the prism effect, knowing what we don’t know, not knowing what we do. And in the meantime we reacquaint ourselves with the world, just in time to launch through to the end of the crescendo, and into the final sustained chord that fades away, like the end of “A Day in the Life.”

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