The Journey South - Part Two

{Continued from Previous Post}

In the summer of 2015, I decided to attend Art of The Carolinas in the Fall of that same year.  Art of The Carolinas is an expo hosted by Jerry's Artarama in Raleigh, North Carolina.  I was so excited to go spend a few days to take some classes from Artists that I admired, and to see what was new and exciting in the art supply world.  I went through the catalog and filled my 5-day schedule from 8am until 8pm each day with every possible class I could take.  Keep in mind, these professional classes are NOT cheap but I wanted to focus on being a student and finding out what really moved my creative spirit and invest in my gifts and talents.

The hotel room was booked, the classes were paid for and the drive was mapped out.  But the Fall of 2015 was not to be the year I was to attend this expo.  My husband unexpectedly passed away the week before the trip. When I was able to call and cancel, I was informed that I could not get my money back.  In disbelief, I questioned the lack of compassion on the part of the event coordinator. Losing $1600, although an enormous amount of money, was very far down on my "worry" list but the fine print did say no refunds and I had no choice but to accept it.

Accept everything.

Trust me, I said and did a lot of things I am not proud of in those first few days and weeks after my loss.  I guess one gets a free pass during a time like that, because I lashed out at a lot of people who graciously took it from me. I cringe now when I think about it, because that is not my typical demeanor, but then again, I just wasn't myself.


A few days later, I received an email from the coordinator offering me a credit for the following year. "Well that's just great," I thought. "Like I'm really going to feel like going a year from now."  I thanked her and forgot all about it.

The rest of 2015 and most of 2016 was a fog of worry, stress, and fear. While I just can't write about any of that just yet {if ever}, suffice it to say that art and travel were so far off my radar. Battles were fought, work had to be done, and the future had to be, well, let's just say, 'readjusted.' I spent so much time reacting and responding to everyone else that I ceased being "me." 

God's plan for me would unfold in HIS time, not mine.

In late October of 2016, I had a particularly challenging day.  One of those days where you think you just can't take another step. That feeling of wanting to run away from my life as I knew it was ever-present.  Late that day, an email landed in my inbox reminding me of my credit to Art of The Carolinas.  I couldn't believe it had almost been a year and I thought to myself,

"I'm not ready to go."

But something made me pause and think for a moment.  Just for the heck of it, I went to the website and started looking at the classes.  The art was exploding off the page and something stirred deep inside and I thought, "I can do this.  I need to do this. I am allowed to do this."

“Sometimes the slightest things change the directions of our lives, the merest breath of a circumstance, a random moment that connects like a meteorite striking the earth. Lives have swiveled and changed direction on the strength of a chance remark.” 
― Bryce Courtenay

So one year and one week after my husband passed, I was heading North on Interstate 95 with my art supplies and suitcase in the trunk, a heart full of trepidation, and a tiny shred of hope.

You are probably wondering by now why I am heading NORTH when I said this was a story about traveling south to MEXICO.  Patience friends.  All roads lead somewhere.