One of my favorite ways of getting to know people better is to travel with them. I’ve been lucky enough to have taken several trips with people who were friends before we traveled together. Spending travel time together deepened our friendships.
Some of these trips were to other places in the world — the Bahamas, London, Maui (twice) — and some were road trips in Texas, even just to San Antonio, 80 miles down the road from Austin.
An hour and a half with a friend in a car can cover a lot of sharing.
Fanny, Pauline, and I went to the Bahamas together and had a total blast. We stayed in the mega-resort Atlantis, and wandering around Paradise Island and Nassau was hugely fun with them.
I learned how to snorkel for that trip, and one day, Fanny and I took a boat trip to visit a sunken boat used in an old James Bond film and check out a coral garden. We saw the “tongue of the ocean” where the deep Atlantic and the shallow Caribbean meet, where looking down, you see the grassy sea bottom drop off into utter darkness.
At the end of that trip, we snorkeled with sharks. (They were well-fed before we got into the water.) Their skin feels like sandpaper, and I noticed that everyone kept their arms and legs pulled in!
In the marketplace in Nassau, we’d been shopping and my feet were hurting (back in those days — never happens now), and I was tired of kids pestering me, hawking crappy trinkets I didn’t want.
I asked the most aggressive little boy if he would sing a song for me for a quarter. He obliged. Other children gathered, and for a couple of bucks, I heard song after song, many of which were hymns. We drew a crowd.
It was an unexpected tourist adventure, and I’m glad I thought of it — just from thinking that these children must have something else of value to offer besides crappy trinkets.
I still remember one little girl who sang so sweetly and beautifully about Jesus.
Linaka took me to Rice Park on Maui. It’s up the volcano near Kula, and from there, you can see nearly three-quarters of Maui’s coastline and get as close to a bird’s eye view of the amazingly small mountainous island as possible without actually being in the air.
It took my breath away and gave me some navigational bearings I could never have gotten from a map. That map was the territory.
Then she taught me kalani hula, and we laughed.
On another trip to Maui, Glenda drove us on the Hana Highway. I didn’t know her very well before, but we spent over six hours together in the car on that trip, and she’s become a dear friend. She’s blessed my house in a fabulous ritual, and I can request from her a reiki dance for myself and those I care about when needed as well as send love to her when she needs it.
Glenda happens to be one of the most enthusiastic and loving, compassionate people I’ve ever met. She changed me.
There’s something really magical about being on a tropical island with friends.
I camped with Katie and Keith up on the Haleakala volcano on Maui in Hosmer’s Grove. The highlight of that experience was getting up way before dawn to drive to the top of the volcano to watch the sunrise.
When we got there, a crowd had already assembled. It was cold, about 35-40 degrees F. We found vantage points, and at the very moment the sun peeked over the clouds, a native Hawaiian man began chanting in Hawaiian. I have no idea what it meant, but it was obviously a sacred greeting, and he had a beautiful voice.
And then the magic really started…
We could see the tops of two volcanoes on the Big Island above the clouds off to the southeast. As the clouds cleared to the west, we could see the shadow of the volcano falling over west Maui and the smaller islands. Vertiginous… And then there was Nick Goodness, the story teller…
Sometimes when you travel with friends, you have shared experiences that sink in so deeply, your bond deepens.
You feel even more at home in this world. You have arrived in a new, more connected place, an inner, heartfelt place and a worldly, outer place.