There are people who love fiercely, deeply, and without reservation. Finding someone who loves like this is rare. And if you’re lucky enough to call a fierce lover “friend”, you will never be alone in a time of need.
I’ve met many people with these characteristics when I traveled. I think being someone who loves without reservation can be necessary in a new environment. When traveling, you can either adjust and see the good in your new surroundings or refuse the unusual and never truly experience the joys of traveling.
I’ve meet these people throughout my life. Some friends and family members come to mind. Two of the most prominent images are of my grandmother and a dear friend. They both passed away in the last few weeks.
GrammyMama and Daddy Neil, my paternal grandparents, were the southern gentleman and belle of Gainesville, Texas. They took spontaneous trips around the US and Canada well into their 70’s. We would visit for the holidays and be surprised to hear about their most recent vacation. They would pack their little black suitcases, up and leave without telling a soul, and come back to talk about their adventures as casually as a younger person might talk about a trip to the grocery store. One of my goals as a traveller is to be that adventurous and receptive to new experiences as I myself age.
Drew Cederberg, a coworker and friend, lived a brave and ambitious life. Drew lived with a life-long illness and died at the age of 31. As I told him about my plans to travel in Italy, his emphatic response was, “Of course I’ll visit!”. My second goal as a traveller is to pursue adventures, in whatever form, even in the hard times.
As I travel, I hope to be that fierce lover. That person who regards each moment with bravery and openness. So here’s in memoriam.