The night before a journey is a sea of anticipation. My morning meditation, waves of distractions…so hard to keep focus, I surrender to the flow and instead do an impromptu ritual for safe journey and magickal inspirations. I walk by the river and bless the rising sun. Today is the day, finally, after all the planning, all the pieces are beginning to become visible. The manifestation of intent. Returning home, I review my packing one more time. I have downloaded the most helpful guidebooks onto my IPad so that I need not carry the weight of the books themselves. I have torn out a few relative maps just for orientation and also added some apps on to my phone and tablet that might prove convenient. Copies of my documents and what itinerary I have conjured are left with my children. Copies are also tucked into my backpack. I have added things to my cross shoulder bag which will carry my IPad and other items that will need to be accessible during my travel…okay, I am ready, as ready as I can be.
Excited and assured, I grab my bag and my backpack and head for the airport. The airport is doing some construction within the main facility and so I do not linger there but rather take the tram directly to the airside after checking in and printing out my boarding pass. With no bags to check and a well- organized backpack, security is not a problem. I enter a small restaurant at the airside and order wine, cheese and roasted vegetables. An overnight flight and dinner will be served on the plane, but a celebration is order. Thank you, Goddess, for the gifts of the Earth.
It will be awhile before boarding. I make myself comfortable in a seat near the boarding gate. I gaze pensively out of the tinted windows to the wide expanse of cloudless blue skies. So many stories to be told. Are they worth telling? How will I tell them? I am a woman, like many women who has thought herself not pretty enough, not smart enough, not wealthy enough, not creative enough, not talented enough, and not spiritual enough. Always judging myself and always coming up wanting. I think back to a book by Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way, there is a valuable mantra in that book, “my job is to do the work, not judge the work,” followed by, “Goddess, I am in charge of the quantity, You are in charge of the quality.” And thus one by one I have snipped the tethers of never enough, the oppression of self-imposed limitations and restrictions, I am learning that I am enough, and I hope to light that flame of enough, of spirit in others. That is the journey we all make to our inner core; the Dark Moon work of the Maiden, the Fullness of the Mother and the Wisdom of the Crone.
There is a freedom today that permeates my soul, my heart, my total being. I am sitting at the airport having permitted my red hair to become white, having cut the long curls to a close cropped cap. I sit here with my 16 pound back pack, fingering my pentacle with its Alexandrite center, dreaming of the path ahead, a ribbon of known and unknown; planned and unplanned, knowledge and discovery. I take a deep breath and then another, I allow my eyes to close and the meditative journey to begin.
Good morning Great Britain! British Airways, comfortable flight, a bit of sleep, some food, some wine, some conversation, some time reading…life is good.
We landed just before 8 am. Not having to wait at baggage claim is always a blessing, but especially when you need to navigate the lines at passport control. The walk seemed like miles of moving sidewalks, twists and turns. I am sure it was a function of my being excited to just get on with it. Carrying my back pack also meant that I could pick up my pace when the crowd permitted me more access. I could not stop smiling. Finally the hallway gave way to a wide expanse of open space, a huge maze of passengers, lines up and down, left and right, all leading to the front of the hall where a long row of kiosks with high windows and cameras stood guard. There was a shorter line for passengers with EU passports, but the “other” line was the one that demanded my presence. I went to the end of the line…yes, still smiling….ahead of me was a group of about ten people, mostly women, pushing huge carts of luggage and carrying huge purses on their shoulders. They had flown to London to board a cruise. They were laughing and chiding each other as they complained about having to manage their own luggage and bemoaning the length of the line as well as its slow forward progress. I smiled as I realized that my perception of these people had been that they were older, senior, mature adults. I laughed as I realized that although I saw myself as younger, vital, energetic and adventurous, to all around me, I was decidedly a 69, almost 70 year old woman with white hair and a backpack!
I was still thinking about that as I stepped up to the passport control desk. My 2011 passport showed a woman with shoulder length red hair, hmmm. The Brits use facial recognition software so the discrepancy was not an issue. My lack of a concrete itinerary was at first questioned but my rail pass and my York reservation addressed those concerns. My passport was stamped and I was sent on my way with a very warm welcome to Great Britain and wishes for a successful adventure.
I belong to a credit union so I used my debit card at the airport to get just two hundred pounds sterling. I would get more cash with my card at a bank once I arrived in York. I planned to use credit and debit cards when I could but I also was able to negotiate better lodging rates by paying in cash. ATM accomplished, off to the train station. Rail pass validated, next step of the journey Platform 4, a train to Kings Cross, London where I will board a second train heading to York. Still excited, still smiling, but wait, what is that I see? A Costa oasis on my way to Platform 4? Well first things first… it is almost 9:30, time for a wee bit of caffeine and a huge cup of latte…Blessed be!