Easter Island

We had to cancel our bucket list trip to Santiago, Easter Island, and Patagonia again. This time it wasn’t because I was upset that the penguin viewing part of the trip was switched to visiting a vineyard. This time it was due to an unexpected trip to University of Michigan Hospital. Joe had a stroke. So now reality is no longer whether the third time planning this particular trip will be a charm but whether travel for us is possible at all in the future.

A trip to the emergency room via ambulance is nothing like flying to an exotic location. It’s a shock but not the good kind of shock you feel when you are sitting in a boat at dusk on the Ganges River watching cremated remains being spread by a grieving family and then adding your candle to the hundreds of others floating everywhere. It’s an uneasy feeling of entering the unknown and having to trust that the people surrounding you know what they are doing.

Ganges River

It’s a disbelief that something so unexpected has put not only a trip on hold but life itself. So what next. Well, we can take the first path and just check out or we can pull ourselves together and start on the second difficult path to recovery which hopefully will lead to exploring the world again.

We thankfully are on the second path. It’s a slow go. Staying 6 weeks in the hospital, relearning how to walk and use your arm and hand again is a difficult process. Months of therapy is a rocky leg of the journey. It’s proving to be a trip to a more foreign land than we’ve ever traveled. But, now that we are 5 months into this new reality we are trying to view life and travel with a new frame of reference. One of our guides in India told us that travel means suffering. That suffering is a part of travel that you must expect, accept, and embrace. We’ve recalled this wise piece of advice many times over the years and are thinking of it now as the road to recovery is trying our resolve and acceptance is difficult.

After expecting, accepting and embracing this difficult road to recovery, I’m not sure if camping in a yurt in Patagonia and hiking to view penguins will be our first adventure but it is definitely still on our bucket list. Wish us luck!