I am keeping things positive and looking for silver linings. The universe is working for me and leading me to my most fulfilling reality. This job loss experience has given me the opportunity to identify what is really important to me. Travel is very important to me!

2021 was an epic year. I got to travel to the Grand Canyon for the first time and it did not disappoint. The reason I decided to take the trip was because I had applied for a job and was invited to interview the next week. My friend convinced me that this could be it, we should go on this trip before I had a job and no time to travel. I began living my life like there was no time like the present to live. My brother’s death also hammered this message home. Life is short. Enjoy it!

The energy in Arizona was palpable. I felt it as soon as we landed and made our way to Flagstaff and Lake Powell. When we got to Lake Powell we weren’t able to rent kayaks as planned due to the choppy waters. Because of Covid, the only way into Antelope Canyon, was by water so we rented a jet ski and made our way into the canyon. There weren’t any other souls exploring the canyon. We had the entire pink, swirly canyon to ourselves. We beached our jet ski and made our way into the canyon, had a picnic lunch and made our way back out again so we could return in time to return our rental. To our dismay, when we got back to the beach, our jet ski was gone.

We had a few options, we had no cell service, we could wait on the beach until someone at the rental center realized that we weren’t coming back and hopefully send out a rescue team… or not… we could hike back into the canyon and search for a path back to the Indian reservation, but it would be dark soon and we had no idea where to go. We suspected the tide had pulled the jet ski out into the waterway and we had no clue how far it had drifted. Lake Powell was ice cold and our life jackets were on board the jet ski. Just when we thought we were doomed to camp out for the night, my friend waded out past the first bend of rocks and spotted the jet ski wedged in an outcropping of rocks in the next cove about 100 yards away.

The water was ice cold and our feet were sucked into the mud with each step as we tried to wade out into the lake. The only way to get to the jet ski was to swim and my friend couldn’t swim. I was terrified of hypothermia if I attempted to swim in the frigid water but I didn’t trust the alternatives either. Screwing up my courage, I plunged into the icy water.

At first, it took my breath away, my body felt like pins and needles but then something kicked in and I felt the rush of adrenaline and I swam. My friend encouraging me on, I felt alive, I could do this. I made it to the ski and my next dilemma was learning how to drive it back to the beach. My friend coached me through it and we were able to get back in time to return our rental. It was probably the most terrifying and exhilarating experience of my life.

The next day we made our way to the Grand Canyon, southern rim. I don’t know if it’s because of the high from the previous day, or the fact that the Grand Canyon is sacred ground, I came alive with every vantage point and view culminating with the light reflected off the clouds, creating the most spectacular sunset and light show. The sunrise the next morning took my breath away. I went for a run along the rim thinking there couldn’t possibly be any better views than the ones I had already seen. Needless to say, I was wrong. My run was cut short every few feet so I could stop and take in the new beauty that presented itself to me.

After that trip, I was a changed person. I felt excited to be alive. A baptism of sorts.

I continued to explore the Finger lakes, Boston, Providence, Chatauqua, Pittsburgh, Falling Water, NYC, Long Island, Toronto, Ottawa and Christmas in London England. Covid could not stop me from experiencing the joy of travel, family and friendship.

Another gift of 2021 was having my car break down on the thruway on my way home from vaccinating in Rochester. I got to replace it with a very pretty BMW which miraculously materialized on my return from the Grand Canyon. Long story short, I still don’t have a house (housing market is too hot) but I now have a safe, reliable vehicle that powered me through many incredible travels and this crazy Buffalo winter.

I have booked a return trip to the Grand Canyon with my friends for next month to hike down into the Canyon and back out. I am looking forward to my reunion with that sacred place and the revelations it has in store for me.