I'm writing this from an airplane, somewhere over the Indian Ocean, as I'm on my way to Bali to spend a week at a beautiful yoga and healing retreat. It's a funny story actually... this whole trip only got planned on Tuesday. Yes, as in four days ago.
It came about through a range of unusual circumstances and has really had me thinking about how (a) we never really know what is around the corner and (b) even the biggest skeptic could struggle to pass these events off as coincidental, when all signs point to my late husband organising me a special post-wedding anniversary gift.
Let me start at the beginning...
A little over a week ago, I celebrated my second wedding anniversary. As my husband Daniel passed away six weeks after our wedding from depression, this milestone predictably bought with it some sadness and upheaval.
One of Dan's best friends, a woman who has also become one of my dear friends, has been an incredible support to me since his death. Knowing this was a difficult time for me she had been checking in and was keeping me in my thoughts.
Last weekend, she reached out and told me that, through her work as a newspaper journalist, she'd been invited to visit a yoga and surfing healing retreat in Bali and wondered if I'd be interested in joining her. The catch: she was leaving for this retreat within the week!
Always up for a trip to Bali (an island that holds a special place in my heart as the location of the first holiday Dan and I took together), I told my friend that I was at least interested in hearing more. She then got in contact with the owner of the retreat and told her about my story, that I'm a writer with Widow's Voice and suggested that I might greatly benefit from spending some time at this beautiful location.
Fast forward a couple of days, I checked in with Soaring Spirits founder Michele to make sure she's ok with me visiting the retreat as a representative of Soaring Spirits and received a kind email from the retreat founder with the offer of attending with a generous discount.
Still believing this opportunity was too good to be true, I floated the idea past my manager at work who was supportive of me taking the time off at short notice, and even looked in to flights to discover I had enough frequent flyer points to get me there and back for free.
So, still in a fair bit of shock, I booked it all in and started to pack!
Now, this is not the kind of thing that happens to me. I am NOT spontaneous, Dan was the fly-by-the-seat-of-his pants adventurer in our duo. I was the one who would think things through slowly and carefully, look for potential risks and make sure all important details were carefully planned... months in advance.
While I've been to Bali twice before and am comfortable enough to get by, I still haven't had time to get my head around the fact that I'm leaving chilly Brisbane for a week of glorious palm-tree lined beaches, morning yoga meditations, holistic therapies, beautiful Balinese hospitality and quality time with my dear friend.
So here I am, having just grabbed my passport, thrown a few things in a bag and jumped on a plane to another adventure. An adventure that I wouldn't be having if Dan hadn't of died. If I wasn't a member of the Soaring Spirits widowed community and if I hadn't have opened my heart up to embracing hope and living in the 'now'.
In the moment, this week, when I found myself hesitating, thinking "can I really do this?!! Can I really just say throw caution to the wind and go overseas at such short notice?", I heard Dan's voice in my heart saying "Yes! Yes you can do this babe! Go, live for the both of us and don't hold back."
So I am. And, as always, I will carry him with me as I go.