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In Defense of Staying Present

I’m traveling. On a solo adventure. Destination Florida. First stop Nashville. I knew my overnight would be short – only long enough to sleep. Hardly worth paying Nashville’s expensive hotel rates.

Solution – Airbnb. We’d stayed in them twice before as a family and both times were great.

I had a lot of fun planning my trip and looking at the descriptions of the various spaces for rent. I booked a guest house for Nashville and an Avion trailer for Chattanooga. By the third night I would be in Florida for my girls trip.

The Airbnb was good (and inexpensive) in theory, but when I arrived at 10:00 pm (after driving 7 hours), to a dark house with only a few instructions and the lockbox code, I started second guessing my decision.

I let my mind wander. Even though I had cc’d my husband on my itinerary (at least he had my address), he was hundreds of miles away. In all practical purposes no one knew where I was. No one.

Initially, I tried to comfort myself with the intense security Airbnb requires to book a room (as “intense” as anything can be on the internet). I told myself the hosts would have had to go through the same security. That didn’t really help once I turned out the lights and I was aware of every little sound. Every strange little sound.

I’m not the type that believes there’s a boogey man around every corner, but in my mind, this scenario had all the makings of a great horror movie.

I reminded myself to just focus on my breathing. To do that required me to stay present. In the moment. Not thinking about who would direct the horror movie or the headline in the local paper the next day (“The bloody remains…”)

Just my breath. Just right now.

And I fell asleep. And because it was so comfortable (and so dark!), I slept well. Really well. In the morning light, there was no room for the scary thoughts.

I kept all this in mind the next night when, again, I arrived at 10 pm for my stay in the Avion. It was placed in the middle of a field, on a two hundred acre farm, thirty minutes outside of Chattanooga. Two (female), college student caretakers met me. When they drove away, across the field, down the dirt road, I was very alone.

Again, for all practical purposes, no one knew where I was. Only now I had no wi-fi. (I had made sure my cell phone was 100% charged before heading out there.) It was dark enough that when I crawled into bed and turned off my little light, I literally could not see my hand in front of my face.

This time I stayed present. I slept well and in the morning, I could appreciate the beauty that surrounded me. (I can’t wait to go back!)

Where do you spend most of your time? In the past? Present? Or future?
I’d love to know below!

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