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Travel as Healing



Our Tommy Bahama postcard
I’ve just come out of hibernation after a health crisis in late October. A skin cancer was cut from my nose and a skin graft taken from my left cheek .... There’s a travel story in all this, I promise! 

Let’s backtrack for a moment to the end of September, when my impending surgery hung over my head like a dark cloud and my imagination was going into overdrive. Despite knowing that I would be in excellent hands and that my condition was not a melanoma, I was nevertheless filled with an anxiety that I couldn’t shake off. Accurately predicting the state that I would be in, Peter and I had planned a visit in September to our favourite place on Earth: Maui.

Notwithstanding that we’ve been coming to Maui every year for the past 11 years, it always seems new, filled with limitless possibilities and magical coincidences. Swimming in the pristine waters off Black Rock on Ka’anapali Beach, going to all our favourite restaurants, and getting an impromptu Reiki treatment at the Sacred Garden in Makawao, our routine is as intensely regenerative as well as an endless source of inspiration. Capping off our stay, we braved t he Road to Hana and stayed for 5 nights at a beautiful cottage just off Hamoa Beach, directly opposite the reserve where Peter and I married in 2013.  

Relishing a relaxed lunch and soaking up the holiday vibe at the Tommy Bahama restaurant (Wailea) one afternoon, the Manager handed us a postcard at the end of our meal saying: “If you’d like to write a message on it, we will send it for you to any part of the world”. 

Thinking that it was a fun thing to do, Peter and I wrote a lighthearted message to ourselves at the back of the card, addressed it to our home in Sydney, handed it over to our server, and then forgot about it almost as soon as we walked out the door.

Fast forward to Sydney two weeks later ... No sooner had I arrived home from the hospital after my procedure than I shuffled to the bathroom, dreading to see what I looked like. Struggling with the pain as the anesthesia wore off, I barely recognised myself in the mirror behind the swelling, bruising, and bandages over half my face. Feeling fragile and vulnerable, I stifled my tears for fear of them falling over my stitches. 

In a serendipitous moment, Peter walked down the hallways and cried out with delight: “Vic, guess what just arrived!” It was our Tommy Bahama postcard! 

Turning the card over, I read the message that we penned to ourselves in Maui: 

“ALOHA, VICKY & PETER! 
HERE’S A LOVELY REMEMBRANCE FROM MAUI, ONE OF OUR FAVOURITE CORNERS OF THE WORLD. HOPE THIS POSTCARD ARRIVES AT THE PERFECT TIME.”

And arrive at the perfect time it did. As I gazed lovingly at that postcard, all thoughts of  "woe-is-me" were replaced by beautiful memories. Thank you, Tommy Bahama and Maui, for putting a smile on my dial just when I needed it the most. Once again, the healing power of travel had done its job, not just during our journey but well after. Time and time again, the richness of our travel experiences leads us to rediscover the abundance and resilience we already hold inside. 

Safe Travel, always!

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Posted by Victoria Ugarte on 6th November, 2017 | Trackbacks
Categories: Opinions, Hawaii (USA)
Tags: Maui, Hawaii, Travel

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