Before I Change My Mind

Dearest Rachel –

I keep forgetting whether I’ve told you about this or not. I know I mentioned the possibility, but there are people that I meet that are surprised when I tell them about what I’m about to do. So maybe I haven’t given the specifics to you yet – I can never keep straight who I have and have not told. I’m probably also confused by the fact that I’ve been doing some pre-travel research, and been assembling those letters to you to be sent over the course of the week or so that I’m out there, with something about each stop as I go along.

But if you haven’t figured it out by now, I guess I might as well straight up tell you: I’m leaving the country right after Thanksgiving, and taking a cruise. All this with my parents’ (surprising) blessing, while I try to reconcile this with my responsibilities at home and at church; is this the right thing to do, or am I being overindulgent?

You’ll probably notice that I’m being the absolute antithesis of my dad when it comes to planning this sort of thing. Oh sure, we’re both leaving most of the details up to our travel agent at Cruises International, but he usually plans these things over a year in advance, whereas this was initiated barely a month before the sail date. Some of that has to do with the fact that, as an individual, I have a lot more flexibility than when Dad had to try and coordinate between a group of nine people and their various schedules. But, given the fact that I’m still not sure whether I’m doing the right thing, I’ve given myself this short window so that I go and do it before I change my mind.

Admittedly, there’s a disadvantage to it and that I don’t have a lot of time to get excited about going here or there. On the other hand, given this year, is there much to get excited about? I don’t mind telling you, I hate the fact that I’m doing this alone, but it isn’t as if I’m going to find myself a traveling companion anytime soon. You’ve heard me complain about Daniel’s various refusals, which essentially exclude him from polite society (not that he seems to mind that much). And of course, our friends all have their own schedules, after all, to say nothing of the fact that they’re mostly female, and that would look very… suspicious.

So, yeah. I don’t really have a lot of alternatives – other than the obvious one to staying at home. But travel was rather one of the things we were looking forward to doing. Yes, it was supposed to be done together, but that’s no longer an option. If neither of us were meant to see these things, then both of us should’ve gone Home at the same time. That’s not how it happened. And while I would prefer to have you with me, it’s not like it can’t be done on my own. For all my dithering about whether this is appropriate or not, I think I’m pretty sure of this much – that I (or we, once Daniel is allowed to travel) should see what we haven’t, and appreciate it while we can.

Your folks told us how they had gotten advice from their friends when they retired to enjoy what they could while they could, because the time would come when they wouldn’t be able to. Even now, my folks have come to the realization that they’re not going to be traveling again; at this point, it seems dad is reconciled to the possibility of never being able to eat going forward. And that sort of takes the fun out of cruising, to be honest. But no one can say they didn’t take their opportunities when they were presented to them.

So now it’s my turn to take advantage of what’s been presented to me. There is a great big world out there, at least when compared to myself (yes, I know that from your perspective, it’s probably just a tiny little dot on the cosmic horizon. Remember it’s all a matter of individual perspective here), and I’ve seen so little of it. As long as I have the wherewithal, I might as well take a look around and enjoy it. Of course I want to do this with somebody else at some point, but that’s not in the cards just yet. Maybe later.

For now, I have locked myself into this one, so that I can’t get cold feet and back out now. “You will enjoy yourself, master Randall, and that’s an order!” Well, I will certainly try.

And I’ll do my best to keep you posted along the way. It may not be of much interest in comparison to the delights of heaven, but it will be different in its own way. So, stay tuned come late next week, and I’ll fill you in on the sights, sounds, and other impressions of the new parts of the world as I nudge open the door and step through.

As always, honey, wish me luck.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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