It was a string of insignificant events that would draw my curiosity back to the subject of time, a topic that has always fascinated me, until finally causing me to stop dead in my tracks while meandering along the Santa Monica Pier.
My uninterrupted length of time in one physical location now almost nearing the three month mark, it was only natural that I’d find an opportunity to escape – to revisit this incessant need to travel. Some may call it a case of the travel itch, or unquenchable wanderlust, but to me this urge to flee is much more.
It’s cathartic. If I don’t go, a part of me will shrivel up and die. (I’m convinced).
My dear friend (and now personal photographer – dream come true!) by my side, I couldn’t help but sense a familiarity as we jumped into our rental car and drove down the highway, windows down, hair blowing, music blaring.
It wasn’t so much the particular surroundings or the events that kept causing that strange sense of having been there before, but the feeling of freedom mixed with a touch of… what was it?
Opportunity. Transition. Enormous change on the horizon.
You know that feeling you get when you just know – you just know! – something really, really good is about to happen?
It was that. Basically. Mixed with freedom and the real, true ability to finally breeeeathe…
This was particularly relieving since I’d continually caught myself either holding my breath or breathing unnaturally shallow breaths in the weeks prior as I felt I was about to go into cardiac arrest from the constant scatter-brained busyness that had become my life. I love to be busy, but scatter-brained busyness is a whole notha thang!
It wasn’t my length of time spent abroad that I was reminded of as we drove along the highway, though. It was an intro trip to the world of travel solo I’d taken a year and a half prior. That time I booked a one-way ticket to Florida and spent three weeks in the sun, ultimately jumping on a cruise ship to the Bahamas. This was a trip that welcomed a new romance, someone who would forever change the course of my life. The memories of that trip, and the length of time that followed, still as vivid as can be, are forever in my heart.
Perhaps this trip, I thought to myself, will mark the first page in a whole new chapter of my life. Perhaps that’s why I have this feeling…
(The last time I had this feeling in Florida, I’d just entered my career as a writer, was about to start a passionate relationship with someone who I was convinced was my soulmate (and maybe is, but what do we know about soulmates anyways?), and subsequently traveled for 8 months of the following year including 6 months solo in Europe).
This is why I can’t ignore this feeling.
We reached the Santa Monica Pier, and yet in my mind, I was back at Daytona Beach, walking along the boardwalk with tears of gratitude welling in my eyes. Passing a stand filled with name bracelets, I smiled, seeing myself purchasing my Alexa bracelet at the Pier in Clearwater, Florida (which is now currently pinned to my vision board for nostalgic reasons).
I suppose at this point, being so amused by the string of coincidences that reminded me so much of my life-altering trip, I should have been expecting what I’d see next.
But I didn’t, and instead I nearly cried the moment I saw it.
My Zoltar fortune, which I got alongside my in-another-life-soulmate in Florida, is currently framed, resting on my nightstand. I had it framed in my apartment in Budapest, and I’d read it each and every day as motivation to continue on in my amazing (yet painful) journey of solo travel. I still read it from time to time, and it always brightens my day:
“What a joy to look ahead to read into the signs of your future. So much happiness is in store for you that the most brilliantly lighted stars will be put to shame by the brightness of your life. Oh happiness what an elusive thing you are. But thank God you were born beneath its star.”
I gravitated towards Zoltar, so pristine and all-knowing in his glass stand, like a falling rock gravitates towards the earth. My friend of course couldn’t understand my emotional reaction to such a character like Zoltar.
All I knew was I needed to get a fortune.
He waved his hand over the crystal ball, and I waited patiently…. and patiently… for him to spit out my fortune. But it never came.
I nearly had a panic attack, crouching down to peer into the metal opening where my fortune was supposed to be waiting to be read. I saw that it was stuck, though, and I pried and pried with my rental car key to get the fortune from his grasp.
My friend urged that I stop. “You’re not meant to know!” she said.
But I couldn’t. I needed to know, even if Zoltar and the Universe didn’t want me to.
After flagging down a staff member to fix the serious issue, I stood – heart pounding – reading my most recent fortune.
“Don’t let opportunity knock at your door in vain. Grasp it and the course of your life will be different. You will be very happy with the one you have chosen for your life’s companion. Be patient, those who have tried to interfere with your happiness will soon find they have no influence over your loved one.”
What the fuck I believe was my audible reaction.
While the surface interpretation might suggest my would-be soulmate was actually the right “one” for me, the reluctance for Zoltar (and perhaps the Universe) to send me this message, ie. making me physically pry for it, sent an entirely different message.
We walked along the beach, now nearing sunset, discussing matters of the heart and the purposes of soulmates. Though mine had come and gone, I knew I had an entire eternity of gratitude before me for just having experienced what I had, Zoltar and all.
And who’s to say there’s only one soulmate anyhow? I have one in myself always… and I had one next to me right there, too.
PS. It wasn’t until later that day that I realized we were driving the exact same rental I had been driving, model and color, as I drove around Florida in search of my future. At this point, I just laughed. No longer surprised, just genuinely amused at the Universe’s sense of humour.
And that was the icing on the cake – my search had come full circle, and before me was my future.
Hello, again, future.
I can’t wait to see what you have in store for me this time.