I can’t believe this day has finally came! Tomorrow. I begin my big journey. And all alone! On the one hand I’m so excited, but on the other, I’m terrified.
I’ve never travel a lot, so a trip around the world seems to be so scary. Also being my own company doesn’t seem very comfortable. I don’t remember truly being on my own and with myself. Ever. But the decision is made and I’m not gonna back out now. I have to trust that grandma knew what she was doing booking the trip for me.
If she only knew what struggle I had to go through to fulfil her plan…
Obviously my parents were extremely worried about my lonely journey. Their only daughter, all alone in a big world, as my mum said it. They thought that I’m crazy for even considering taking it. I would lie saying I wasn’t worried too but last two months I’ve spent preparing for the journey (and fighting with everyone around). I think I’ve read every travel blog possible, made a research about every country grandma set for me to visit, got in touch with some women travellers. I do feel prepared and ready.
Unfortunately negotiating with Rick turned out to be harder than with my parents. He was super against my trip. Not the safety even but the fact that we will be apart and we won’t pursue with preparing the wedding as we planned.
We are together for 3 years now. Rick is a great guy, driven, ambitious and loving. But he likes things to go in a certain way. His way.
When we met he was already finishing his university and shortly after he took a short gap year (more like half year) that he spent in Europe. It didn’t affect our relationship at all neither he asked for my permission to go. But he felt that now, when we want to get married in a year I shouldn’t go on a trip like that. He wanted me to get some internship and take care of planning the wedding as he was too busy to be bothered by that.
But I wanted to go so badly. I have always dreamt about traveling and I also strongly believe that grandma knew what she was doing leaving me that incredible gift. I really wanted to fulfil her wish.
But I felt really guilty as well. I loved Rick and I definitely wanted to marry him. I also promised I will take care of all the wedding arrangements. Although being truthful my dream was to have a little getaway wedding on some beautiful island. But Rick wanted to have a big party, with all the families, friends and what more important with influential acquaintances. I agreed with him that it’s a right thing to do. And now I want to go for a long journey… I told Rick that we don’t have a date yet so if we set it three-four months after my return I will manage to organize everything. He really wasn’t happy and I felt bad about it. This journey was such an amazing gift, one in a lifetime opportunity. I just wanted Rick to share the happiness and excitement with me.
Instead I felt really guilty for going. At some point I even considered not taking the trip.
But my best friend, Agatha, told me I would be crazy to reject such a gift and waist a huge opportunity.
If Rick inherited a trip like that today, do you think he would think of not accepting it? He would use the chance and have an amazing time! Why should you be any different? It was always your dream, you don’t have any other commitments, no kids, work, nothing. Everything is paid for you. Such an opportunity doesn’t happen to everyone. It’s a miracle! I wouldn’t say a thing if you were the one who has concerns and doesn’t really want to go. But it’s your dream come true! You can’t just waste it. I won’t let you!
But I want us to be good, I love him.
And you will be good. He loves you as well, so I’m absolutely sure once he sees your excitement and hears about your adventures he will be happy for you. You will see. Now stop whining and finish packing. Your trip starts tomorrow!
You are right.
And so I’m sitting in my kitchen in the middle of the night. Excited, scared, nervous, happy. I’m looking at my backpack and can’t believe that it’s real. Oh, grandma. I hope you knew what you are doing and that you will take care of me from above. And you, big wide world, be ready, I’m coming!
It was a beautiful August morning. Kate woke up and prepared a cup of coffee. She was sitting by the table, enjoying the rays of light that shined through the window into the kitchen. While taking a sip she thought to herself: ‘What a perfect day’.
Her joy was such that she was hesitant to pick up the phone when it rang. Still in doubt, she got up and out of mere curiosity, looked at the screen. “Mum” was calling.
“Hey mum, how are you doing?” said Kate with a big smile.
The following seconds of silence; unusual in Kate’s mother’s otherwise cheerful character were so telling that she had to ask again, this time trying to speak clearly into the microphone:
“Mum, is everything ok? How are you…” and before Kate could finish her sentence, her mom interjected, bursting a whizzing reply from her lungs full of air.
“It’s your granny, Katie” she said, “she’s gone”
In the blink of an eye the perfect day turned somber. Kate’s good mood suddenly vanished, and in shock, slowly dropped the coffee mug on the floor. Her reaction, natural for a girl her age was denial:
“No! No, no, no, no, no. please mum, say it’s not true!” – Kate’s tears began running down her face while her back, towards the wall started falling down, until she sat side the now broken mug and in the -stil-l warm coffee puddle.
Both devastated, they cried together.
Grandma Emily was 85 and not in her best shape. After a small fall two or so years ago the once chubby and talkative old lady turned slim and quiet, spending most of her days around the house, sitting in her favourite armchair, looking outside the window. But the last months were different. She started missing her old self, the energy she once had, her joy of cooking for the family, where she could almost taste the smell of her famous apple pie.
That odd feeling accentuated in the last weeks; it was as if Emily knew her life was slowly letting go. Understanding as she was, she acknowledged it and was ready. At 85, she was proud to have lived a full life.
With Kate they shared a very special bond – they understood each other without words, and had a deep empathy for one another. Kate was also the only one who Emily confided in. She was the only one to know the whole truth about grandma’s life – her loved one, loss and struggle. And Emily loved Kate dearly. She didn’t want anything else but for Kate to be simply happy.
On that August day their special relation has come to an end and the unique bond they shared was broken. At least that was what Kate thought.
A week later, just two days after the funeral, Kate received a surprising call. It was John, a good friend of Emily, a retired lawyer. He told her he has to see her.
They met the next day in a small coffee shop near the campus.
Hello Katie, how are you? – John asked.
I’m ok. At least I’m trying to be. It will never be the same without her…. – Kate’s eyes filled with tears.
I know. Everyone misses her. She was such a good spirit.
They sat for a while in silence.
Katie, you know that you were always very special to your grandma. She loved you like no one else – said John. – That is why she left something for you.
What do you mean? – Kate didn’t understand what John was trying to tell her.
This is for you – he pulled an envelope from his jacket and handed it to Kate.
What is it? – she asked.
It’s her gift to you Katie. A special message that she wanted you to know. Take it home, take your time and open it when you are ready.
Kate started crying on the thought that she will see her grandma’s handwriting again. All wonderful memories came back to her immediately so as the pain of losing her.
Kate was so grateful. She thanked John, they talked a bit more, and said goodbyes after finishing their coffees.
Once again in a beautiful August day Kate was sitting in a kitchen and the rays of light seemed to be embracing her. She was looking at an envelope, anxious to open it. Curiosity and expectations were mixed with sadness and feeling of lost. She took a sip of wine and decided it’s time.
Kate opened the envelope and found a letter and a business card of a travel agent named Vanessa inside.
“My Dearest Katie,
I know it must be a tough moment for you, but don’t be sad. I had a long life and I was ready to go. Although I experienced war and los I also was blessed by wonderful children and grandchildren. Especially you.
You’ve always reminded me about me when I was a young girl. I had dreams and hopes, was motivated and eager to achieve them. I loved life and people. Many times I am wondering how would my life look like if war didn’t happen… I know one thing. Although circumstances was extremely difficult, I should have never let other people to take decisions for me. This was my biggest loss.
Dear Katie, i don’t want you to make my mistakes. Being 25 you have already wrote a scenario for your life. But it was always your biggest desire to travel and somehow it is not included in your plans. That is why I am leaving you one last gift. It’s a trip around the world.
Yes, you read it correctly.
It’s a long journey. Go on this trip with open heart and mind. Use it as a big experience and opportunity. Not only to see some amazing places (which I’m sure you will love) or try some exotic food (yes, I know how big of a foodie you are my dear) but treat it as time to truly get to know yourself.
Since you were little you wanted to be a good girl so everyone likes you. Later you had straight A’s at school so your parents can be proud. Now you are an excellent student and have a good career ahead (which makes Rock content).
But have you ever asked yourself what makes you happy? What sparks joy in your life? What fulfills you? What is that YOU (not your parents or Rick) truly desire?
I hope you will find the answers on these questions during this trip. I want nothing more on the world but for you to be happy. I love you so much! Just remember – you are a grown up women and you don’t need anyone’s permission.
Now call Vanessa and set a date to start your journey. Then pack and enjoy every minute of it!
Your always loving Grandma”