This week I’ll be heading out on my Solo Journey. For the first time, my destination is in my own state: the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Those barrier islands off the coast separate the Atlantic Ocean from the mainland. Included in the area is Roanoke Island that was the site of England’s first settlement in the New World, an endeavor sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh. The area is rich in history, adventure activities, charming villages, miles of beaches, sand dunes, and maritime forrest.
Places further away have called me for the past 15 trips that started as yearly pilgrimages at my fiftieth birthday. Now, at sixty-four years old, the wild beauty of that string of barrier islands feels like the perfect place.
We visited the Outer Banks only once when I was a child. Daddy’s brother had a place at Kitty Hawk and the only thing I remember is my uncle went out early in the morning to bring back freshly caught fish– which we ate for breakfast. That’s a strange morning meal, especially to a kid. Our family vacationed at the southern beaches of the Carolinas because the water was warmer and the tides weren’t so rough. The Outer Banks have a history of ships wreaking, unable to make it through those treacherous currents, leaving sunken treasures in the deep waters.
My other trips to the area, were when I was a Houseparent with a group of teenagers that had to be monitored closely and then with my sons when they were in elementary school and climbed Jockey’s Ridge, the tallest sand dunes in the eastern United States. Now, I want to go by myself and experience those islands without concern for the rough waters, that I’ll observe from a safe distance from the shore. I won’t have responsibility for anyone but myself.
Now, it’s that time before the journey when I step back to consider what I’m seeking. Since my last trip alone to Florida over a year ago, it’s been a dizzying time of changes, both expected and ones that caught me by complete surprise. The dynamic growth within me to accommodate those changes has used up my energy and left me feeling both blessed and depleted. My greatest need is for rest and renewal– and that always seems to take me to the water.
Part of every journey is adventure– exploring new territory. This trip to the Outer Banks, I’ll go from my rest to the invigoration of discovery doing some new activities that I’ll tell you about in my next posts.
Every solo journey is also spiritual pilgrimage for me. I will go with the prayer, as I do for every trip, that God will give me clarity on where I am at this point in my life, and how to go forward when I return.
I look forward to sharing with you about the people and places in my path in my upcoming posts. Blessings to you on your journey wherever it takes you in the week ahead.
How About You?
If you could take a Solo Journey to any place, where would you go? Why?
What would you be seeking?