“I had no idea you were such a baseball fan!”
This is what people often say when they hear about my quest to see a baseball game in every one of the 30 stadiums across North America.
“No. Not really.” is my response.
Plain and simple.
The truth is I started this journey with a few goals in mind: (1) travel to the stadiums with the man I used to date and learn to love baseball simply because it was something he loved, (2) learn the strategy behind the sport that my daughters play so I can understand what motivates them to play so hard, and (3) venture into the world to see new and interesting places.
What I didn’t realize is that this journey would really become so much more than any of that. This became true from the moment I decided to proceed anyway ~ without the boyfriend, without anybody to teach me the sport, and without anyone to share the burden and fear and reality of possible failure.
I have seen 24 of the 30 stadiums so far in places like St. Louis, Toronto, Los Angeles and Milwaukee. Places that I would not naturally choose to visit. But much more has happened than that.
I sharpened my ingenuity to make a very challenging plan work on airline and hotel points and generosity only. As a single mother of four who pays child support for four and college tuition for two already there was really no other way.
I found courage to ask for help.
With humility I accepted that help when they resoundingly said ‘absolutely!’
I trusted friends I haven’t seen in years (and complete strangers) to have my back. And they did.
I navigated a drive from Seattle to San Diego and through many other cities and parts of the country fearlessly and with confidence in my ability – winding coastal highways, public transit in big cities on both coasts, obscure country roads and everything in between without ever really losing my way. (Okay, okay! Once. In Sacramento. But even the failures were opportunities to grow.)
When my original plans fell through mid-trip I improvised and learned that, no matter what, I am always fine.
I slept for the first time in years. Even this took a measure of extreme trust that I would be ‘okay’ and nobody would hurt me if I allowed myself to rest.
I turned off my work phone. In fact, I lost it for four days and wasn’t inspired to recover it.
I was hungry for the first time in forever. And I actually tasted food. This sounds simple but it is not for me.
I allowed myself to be vulnerable and learn new things.
I also allowed myself to be human and approach complete strangers to help me when needed.
I sat with people I didn’t know in obscure places like lava rock beaches in Oregon. We passed the time in both silence and conversation which were equally pleasant.
I saw beauty that brought me to tears and breathlessness and which press me on with my writing so that I can bring the feeling of those places to other people, too. Cities tethered. Gumdrop Lane and Enchanted Highway. Sawdust for sale. Chattering rocks. Lingering sunsets. Cape Foul Weather. Boulders in assembly. Tallgrasses dancing. Sea Lion beaches. Clouds peering through mountain passes. And a million other unspeakably divine things that served as a reminder that I am alive and well.
I learned that braless and commando is not only possible but fucking beautiful at the age of 49. People stopped me routinely to tell me so.
I cried. Often.
I laughed. From my center.
I practiced my yoga in obscure studios along the coast with people who ‘get it’.
I also practiced alone at sunset on a cliff’s edge with the wind sending my wild hair in every direction and my heart sailing.
And with every mile. With every step. With every ounce of trust in myself and others I began to finally heal.
It’s almost impossible to put to words what happened on the Pacific Coast Highway for two short weeks in June but I am forever changed by it. I was solo ~ as it needed to be. And, while the glue isn’t quite dry yet, the pieces are coming together as they were originally intended before careless others shattered them along the way. Arguably more beautiful with wear.
After years of falling apart…I am finally falling back together.