Home Away from Home

We all know I am not the Better Homes and Gardens type of girl. I found a pot of dirt on my dresser one time. It took me forever to figure out it had at one point been a plant who died a horrible death.

I spend at least 200 nights a year in hotels and on the road for my various travels. Despite the lame attempts by these chains to make these rooms comfortable for weary business travelers, they are nothing like a home.

Lucky for me I have some friends who excel at making a home wherever they happen to be at that moment. It’s a gift and I really enjoy being on the receiving end of this gift.

Let me tell you a bit about my friend. Her name is Lori and we have had some amazing adventures together. She invited me to come visit her in Oahu and I have to say it is one of my favorite vacations ever!

First of all, Lori is one of those people who likes to plan and worry over the details. I used to be like that, but it got old. Now, I like to just see what falls into my lap. When I am smart, I go visit people who like to plan and worry about whether or not I am having a good time. Score! Best of both worlds! Just kidding. Kinda.

Lori has this charming little house on Oahu. Every time I turned around she was doing something else to make sure I was comfortable or had whatever I needed. She always adds cute little touches like twinkle lights or cute curtains to her space. I never think about any of that stuff. I am usually just proud of myself when I keep my clean and dirty clothes separated while I am traveling. I have learned methods to do exactly this… it comes from a deep seated hatred of packing. Lori introduced me to all of her island friends. They all welcomed me and went out of their way to make sure I had a good time. Who does that? Nice people! Fun people! Generous people! Lori’s friends!!!! 

I will be forever grateful to the gentleman who brought me a kayak, not once, but TWICE! The patience and supportive way he encouraged me was so beneficial. Now, Lori was the one who walked back and forth just off the shore line holding the craft steady so I wouldn’t tumble out for the 907th time. (Imagine a parent teaching a child to ride a bike without training wheels. Now imagine that child is a very large, intimidated middle aged woman.) After about an hour I could finally paddle a little on my own without flipping over. They watched my shit show for an hour! They never grew exasperated and told me to just give it up. They waited me out. It was awesome!

Lori also obsessed over my application (or perhaps in her opinion, my mis-application) of sunblock. For the first time in my life I went on vacation and did not end up with an illness inducing sunburn. Is there a lesson here? Yes! You should absolutely vacation with someone who is going to reapply your sunblock even after you feel like you probably did a fairly adequate job. Trust me, you need this person in your life. 

Lori and I have a lot of the same tastes in music and this is always helpful when you are spending long days and nights with each other. She is also the best Jazzfest partner. Back off! I am not sharing her. 

Lori cooks and she eats incredibly healthy. So, even if I had a few alcoholic beverages, and even if I found a bar that served a bottomless glass of Day Owl, I lost weight on vacation! I never hear anyone say that.

My favorite part of my island adventure? I got to catch up with a woman who has made a big impact on my life. She has reinforced my self-confidence and reliance. She has reminded me of the importance of taking a step back and reevaluating my plans and goals. She is a good example of fiscal responsibility and I appreciate how hard she works to make smart choices.

I struggled for years to make and keep female friends. I did not believe that active, beautiful, smart, successful women wanted to be my friend. I hid from them. I was abrasive and standoffish. I decided I did not like them long before they could decide they did not like me.

Now? I am surrounded by smart, amazing, inspiring, beautiful women all the time. I go on adventures with them. I send them stupid text messages to try to make them laugh. I can call them to cry over the latest episode of This is Us. We are all so different. We came from different backgrounds. We have different political or religious points of view. Some are married. Some are divorced. Some have never been married, and don’t particularly care to be. Some have kids. Some have A LOT of kids. (kidding). Some do not want children. We have different levels of education and different careers.

When I find myself wondering who I am and who I am going to be, all I have to do is think about the women in my life. I get to be  loved and love them with all of my heart. They open their homes to me with shockingly little notice when I realize I have a couple of days free to come crash with them. I love that they give me a home when I am so far from home. I hope I get to keep collecting their spare bedrooms and couches for many years to come. I want to see who we all turn out to be.

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