Nothing beats a fresh NYC bagel, on a Saturday morning, on your way to the Bahamas!
Nothing. Nothing. Except maybe everything when you pray first, wait on God, and always go along with his plans. Especially when they change!
However, we have to initiate some kind of plan so He knows at least we are trying to move life forward…
It’s like the joke about the guy who keeps praying to God about winning the Lottery. But he never does. Finally, God responds, “The least you could do is buy the ticket.”
And it’s remembering, God always answers our prayers. Always. It’s just that his answers consist of: yes, no, wait, or I have something better for you. That’s exactly what I remind myself when I don’t win lotto! (note to self: remember, I didn’t win, because God wants me to have something more! Sometimes 2 Million is not enough, so I’ll wait…)
And that’s why I am eating a fresh everything bagel with melty oozy cream cheese on my way to the Bahamas!
This past October was to mark the 10 year passage of my friend’s death and battle with Cancer, and my struggle to survive the grieving process. Since he died on Columbus Day, I promised myself to always set out to discover something new. Anything. Anything, besides staying home and crying. However, most years passed unceremoniously. But there was a year the weather was ironically beautiful for October and I went for a bike ride and discovered free kayaking on the Hudson River. It was a fun adventure, full of adrenaline and paddling, instead of drowning in tears.
Then I discovered a 3-day sail on the Tall Ship, Liberty Clipper, a newly renovated gaff-rigged schooner. The original plan was to sail from NYC to Baltimore/Portsmouth.
A simple 3-day sail to mark the passing decade I struggled to move forward. The trip would have been me, tolerating the cold and demanding conditions, solo.
However, a week before the sail I called the office and spoke with Dennis, I told him, “I think I am sea sick.”
Dennis replied, “You can’t be sea sick, you are not on the boat yet.”
I replied, “I know. I know. But I think I am sea sick already.” Again, Dennis sort of laughed, and insisted, “You can’t be sea sick, you are not even on board yet.”
I considered, I might be nervous or excited, so we reviewed my packing: ski pants, warm coat, warm hats, gloves, layers and thermal underwear and the foul weather gear.
However, a few days later Dennis called back and informed me we were sailing straight into hurricane Mathew. The sail was cancelled. I hung up the phone, and accepted I was back to plan A for the weekend— stay home and cry. However, within a few hours I was invited to a 3-day sail up the Hudson River to Bannerman’s Castle. Quickly my mind was distracted to re-pack for mild conditions and planning the necessary provisions.
The story doesn’t end there. It’s just starting…when I returned home, Dennis, from Liberty Fleet calls to offer a compensation for the cancellation, “A week in the Bahamas!”
I discovered how small I think. I planned a convenient weekend sail to commemorate life. I believe I was divinely upgraded to sunshine, sunsets, moonrises, moonsets, snorkeling, stargazing, paddle boarding, and kayaking in the Caribbean for a week, with new friends! Amazing, how God always has a better travel plan than anything we plan for ourselves.
I arrived to explore downtown Nassau during the first week of Lent. So I started with a Bahamian breakfast of Grits and Tuna. Lunch was the Conch Chowder with a shot of peppered sherry, of course. I walked around and discovered a wonderful statue of Christopher Columbus and how his voyage came after 8 years of seeking patronage and then launched a new era in world history. I should have taken a selfie with that statue.
I embarked on the 125-foot Liberty Clipper, and before we even set sail, the crew led an excursion to the local fish fry. Under the bridge to the Atlantis, we were treated to fresh Conch Salad. Giving up filet mignon always has it’s unexpected rewards.
The passengers and crew were an amazing group of people to sail and eat with. We feasted on Grits with Shrimp one day and grilled Mahi Mahi another day. Our final Captain’s dinner was a lobster tail feast, of course!
We also caught a super fresh Mackerel and the crew made ceviche with cucumbers and mango.
My cabin was unexpectedly and divinely upgraded and I spent a week swimming in blue water, sinking my toes into pink sand and talking with all the other sailors about their travel experiences and adventures…
On the way home from the airport I stopped off in Astoria and celebrated the successful sail and my perfect packing- sunblock, sundresses, bathing suits and flip flops. I enjoyed a delicious whole grilled bronzini fish and discovered fried sardines are delicious! They definitely were not from the can.
I called Mom to tell her (almost all) the details—and I added, “But, I got bit by a bug.” Immediately she insisted, “Go to the hospital.” Just as quick I replied, “Go to the hospital! No way! I’ve got to to go to the airport…I got bit by the travel bug!”
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”