When I turned 30 I was happy. I was pregnant with my first child. I had a job I loved. My life was in a trajectory toward success and fulfillment. I loved turning 30.
Fast forward 10 years. Life…is not quite as happy. My career has stalled. I’m not finding fulfillment in my work I once did. I have two kids and am happy, but they’ve gone from cute babies, to sassy kids. I look in the mirror and I’m not happy with my weight, I start to see wrinkles and gray hairs. I look at forty approaching and I see that I’m not where I want to be. I was dreading 40.
For our family, we tend to celebrate the big birthdays and anniversaries with trips. (30 – Hawaii, 40 for my husband – Argentina, 10 year wedding anniversary – Costa Rica, etc.) So when it came time to plan my 40th birthday trip, I felt a lot of pressure. It had to be perfect. It had to make up for how I was feeling. It had to be the best trip ever. I put so much pressure on this, I developed complete analysis paralysis deciding what to do and where I wanted to go. My husband, seeing the stress I was putting on myself, decided to take the reins this time.
My husband did something I would never, ever think of doing. He …called a TRAVEL AGENT! Yes, these still exist. But he found Audley Travel which specializes in customized travel itineraries. After listening to my requirements (new country, beach, relaxation on my birthday, learning experiences for all, kid’s love for pool, my husband’s love for culinary and photography experiences) they put together a fantastic itinerary for us in Bali, Indonesia. So we headed out for 12 day adventure in West Bali Barat National Park, Ubud, and finishing in Sanur so I could be on the beach with a drink in my hand on my birthday.
Of course, as regular readers know, just after this trip was booked my father was diagnosed with cancer. When something like that happens, your life gets turned upside down. It made me rethink everything. I had to take on responsibilities I never had to before. I had to take extended time-off from work. After months of dealing with one crisis after another, briefly when my father was in recovery from his tumor removal surgery, I had a chance to catch my breath. During one of my many deep conversations with my dad, he told me how proud he was of me taking on the mantel as head of the family. I had not realized I had done that until that moment. But I had. Suddenly I had much more appreciation for my accomplishments in life. I may not have reached where I wanted in my career, but I had numerous accomplishments in my career and outside of it. Most importantly, I was caring for my dad. Helping my mom, sister and cousin. I was raising two wonderful children. I had a blog and social media channels where I got a chance to share my adventures and insights with the world, and maybe inspire others to reach outside their travel comfort zone. I had indeed accomplished a lot in my 40 years on this earth.
The trip was touch and go, and it wasn’t until close to the date of the trip that I was sure I could actually go. I had almost canceled when the treatment first started, but my dad was insistent I go. He wanted me to go. Having to face his own mortality, he didn’t want me to miss out on this opportunity. Seeing what he was going through, I didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity either. The day we got on the plane to Bali while my heart was aching thinking of my dad, I knew I was in for a great adventure and I knew I was making the right decision. The whole family came back from the trip feeling as if it was the best vacation we ever had.
Follow along as I post on Bali, our travels, and the fun we had celebrating 4 decades on this earth.
- West Bali / Bali Barat National Park