The first part of 2013 was a tough one for my family. We were still in the early days of our leukemia journey. We tried to travel but every time we pushed the button, life pushed back. My son sustained a fever every month so I became quickly acquainted with the struggles of trying to maintain a business while caring for a sick child.
There were sooooo many days when I wanted to give up, throw in the towel and just say “Ok God, you win. I’m not doing nothing!” But a voice in me kept saying “no, Tawanna. That’s not it. It’s not about you giving up. It’s about you surrendering.”
And so I did. I learned a lot about the importance of friendship, the simplicity of life, the strength of a 5 year old boy (today he’s 6!), and the power of love. I was humbled this year. Truly and honestly. I cried more in 9 months than I had in my entire life. I bore witness to God around me.
So, we didn’t stop traveling. We just put it off for a short while. I thought I’d go crazy (I don’t really like sitting still). But when I recognized what my #1 purpose was, I surrendered and I sat. My kids sustained me. Granted, I put my health on the back burner but I’m slowly bringing myself back around.
We were tested this year. My husband was deployed right after my son finished radiation and I had to hold the fort down on my own. And so I did. I put my big girl panties on and did what any mother would do, got down to business. I refused to complain about it – wasted energy. And then God stepped in again and sent an angel our way and got my husband back home early.
And then I decided to take a mommy break of sorts. So I picked up on my work and I traveled. And traveled and traveled. From September through December, I took six trips, three of them international. I was back in my happy place.
Most important of all, our once a month fever and hospital admissions dissipated after May. We stayed out of the hospital for the holidays and my sweet boy is laughing, eating, walking and talking under a bushel of hair.
He still loves his turkey sausages, chips, and ice cream. His weight is picking up and he is joy.
I don’t know what the rest of this journey will bring, whether it’s the journey of leukemia or the journey of life. I think the uncertainty of it all pushes us to strive to do our best. I struggle with being my better self everyday but I’m constantly working on enlightenment.
This is how travel serves me: It’s the exposure to new places, people, and experiences that pushes me to learn more. It’s the freedom that it brings. It’s the desire to show my kids there’s more to the world than just their immediate surroundings. It’s the wanting to make travel more accessible to people by simplifying it and redefining it. That is the pull of travel on me.
This year, in 2014, I look forward to more adventures with my family, a healthier year, and the privilege to make travel a reality for others.