I have never so happily paid for over-weight baggage.
In retrospect, I mean.
While I was standing at the counter, so certain that I would miss my departing flight to Honolulu (which I did,) so hot because I was wearing what Mark so lovingly called my “mainland-wear” (which I agree, pants are) and so annoyed with the poor service I had been receiving on behalf of the Hawaiian Airlines ticket agents (which I still am,) I am sure I snorted at the charge made to my credit card.
But now that I am somewhere over the Pacific, flying to California, I find myself shrugging my shoulders, completely over the situation. My suitcase was packed well when I arrived in Kona two-and-a-half weeks ago; a Tetris game played with a complete bike tool kit, biking helmet, cycling shoes and kit, a hydration pack, cocktail dresses, and camera lenses as well as plenty of bathing suits and play clothes. So certainly it is packed well now that I have thrown in jars of local honey, vanilla beans from the coffee plantation up the road from the house, notes, a few token souveniers I have been hunting for quite some time, a couple of new books and maps acquired along the way, and a wet skin suit (complete with bits of sand) from one last dip in Kailua Bay this morning – surely that sand weighs something!!
I am not at all surprised by the heft of that bag – this time, I find myself trying to take the whole island home with me for I don’t know, now, when I will be back.
To explore, or train, race or lead – there has always been something that calls me back before long. This place is MY place, it feels, and so when I catch flights off the island now I deliberately say “see ya” instead of “goodbye.” I have staked my claim -over this holiday and on so many trips before – but this time a new reality must be embraced as I go.
Today I fly back to a new home, in Oakland. As of next week, I will no longer be a Backroads leader. Next week, my position with Backroads will become one behind the scenes and out of the field for the most part – one that does not require me to return home in the evenings covered with bike grease and sweat with fifteen minutes to shower and dress for a cocktail party. Nor will this new gig allow for nearly as many mornings waking up on a private lanai with room service breakfast on the way. It’s my own desk, my own business card, and my own role in making the scenarios above possible. Instead of strictly leading trips for Backroads, now I will have the opportunity to design them.
I sit in my little airplane seat, very aware that the “galavanting” is over – for now. I have had my “last hurrah” and in Hawaii no less. I am still warm from the morning sun, skin glowing from the sea and two weeks of riding in the humidity and tradewinds. My hair is all in curls and a bracelet of kukui nuts, given to me by a guest, is still around my wrist. I am smirking as I wish Hawaii farewell – if it is possible to love a place, I do love you. And if it is possible to feel that a place loves you back, you have me! And so, we lovers part and I say so long…..for now.