One random evening in 2008 I received a call from my best friend CC. This, in and of itself, was nothing special or noteworthy, having been best friends since the age of 9, but now living 1,200 miles apart, many evenings have been spent on the phone with each other and 2008 was a particularly chatty year for us, being it was that year I separated from my husband and CC was always there, ready to comfort, give me tough love, support my life decisions…all the things best friends are designed for.
This call in particular changed my life although I didn’t realize it at the time. I knew about CC and her friend from college Christina’s yearly vacations together. Both strong, single ladies with huge appetites for travel and experiences, the two of them ran a marathon in Hawaii, hiked the Grand Canyon, spent a week in Paris and had many other adventures together and this year, their planning was taking them to Italy. CC, knowing I was struggling with my recent singlehood called to extend an amazing invitation to me….she said, “I have enough frequent flier miles to pay for another flight to Italy, would you like to join us for this trip? I think you need this.”
An invitation to which I immediately replied, “NO.”
NO because I didn’t have enough money for the trip. NO because I didn’t have enough vacation time for the 10 days off I would need. NO because I had never travelled internationally (except for a couple trips to Mexico). NO because I didn’t believe this was something I could or should do.
But I came to my senses early the next morning, something nagged at me telling me this might be possible and I immediately called her back with two questions:
#1 Did you really invite me to Italy and offer to purchase my plane ticket?
#2 Did I really say NO???
After a long laugh and a short discussion of a few details, my NO became YES…if the Universe would help me. And guess what? It did. A quick call to my boss to explain this opportunity was all it took and she agreed to grant me vacation in advance. I ran the numbers and realized that with the flight covered, it would not be as expensive to roam around Italy in the company of two other women since we were all agreeable in sharing a single room. And the final concern…I had never met Christina and wondered if spending 10 days together in a foreign country were the best circumstances to meet. But guess what…they were. The only person the Universe had to actually convince was me.
I’m not sure any trip in my life will ever compare to touring Italy with my two amazing companions. It’s hard to describe that first YES feeling, the feeling of being open and accepting to what the Universe has to offer. It was a true turning point in my life…I learned to open myself to opportunities, to make the impossible possible, and most importantly to remember that saying YES is the only way to expand and grow.
YES becomes easier once you start saying it. YES spreads like a warm light, encompassing every part of your life and flowing on to others. Communities are formed and people come together. Christina and I went to Peru together in 2009. Later that year CC introduced me to her cousin and we said YES to a six week backpacking adventure in Ecuador and Peru. The following year I camped in Death Valley for a week with a guy I met on that backpacking trip…and so on…and so on.
My next YES is a big one. I am leaving my home and my job in June to study yoga and become part of a self sustained community on an organic farm in Guatemala. My stay will last 6 months and I’m not sure where the Universe will take me after my time on the farm.
And that is a truly great feeling.
-Nic Cheesman (Guest Contributor)