On the 5th of May last year, I set out on my journey (from hell) for LA. I missed my connecting flight in New York, so I cried within two hours of landing in the States, and when I FINALLY got to the hotel 24 hours after I left home, I was absolutely knackered.
I had one day to explore LA by myself before meeting my Trek America group on the 7th, exactly one year ago today. That group were to become my family and friends for one short, incredible month, and I remember the moment I met them all perfectly. However, it is scary how quickly you begin to forget things, no matter how amazing it was. I remember the places and the big events, but a lot of the details are slipping away. If only I’d written about everything sooner!
[OK, now picture the buildings above around the edges of a square, at night, since I didn’t take any useful photos.]
One clear example is my tarot reading. Now, I don’t know about you, but this is not something I do very often (i.e. I had never had a tarot reading), so you would think I’d remember it.
In Jackson Square, New Orleans, we came across several people set up at little tables doing tarot and palm readings. Only one person was dead set that they didn’t want to know their future (!), but the rest of us thought it would be fun. Most of the group went before me. I did start to get a little nervous when one of the girls was told at what age and how she would die, but I decided to go for it anyway…!
I opted to speak to a younger woman doing tarot readings, because she seemed like the most approachable, despite the numerous facial piercings and heavy makeup. She asked me to shuffle the cards until it felt ‘right’, then she picked a few* cards off the top.
*When recounting this story, people who know the Tarot will probably be frustrated at my lack of details (such as how many cards are in a tarot reading!) but at least you probably know what I mean. If you don’t know anything about the Tarot, then it doesn’t really matter exactly which card it was, does it?
The first card she turned over was something symbolic of ‘an excellent relationship’. Again, I could have told you which card it was for a while afterwards, but I can’t remember it now. Anyway, she obviously then asked if I had a boyfriend and I was thinking ‘Ha!’ but just said, ‘No’, politely, so she said it must be symbolic of my relationship with myself. Since setting my mind on publishing, I have been fairly confident about who I am and what I want, so this seemed fair enough.
She then turned over another card and I think she just talked a little more about what I am like (it must have been fairly accurate or I would remember), and then she turned over another card. She commented that this was a very ‘unusual’ reading, because it said that I wasn’t happy. I was at once contented and yet not happy?
Sounds crazy, but again, it was right. Despite being more or less happy with myself, I definitely wasn’t happy with where I was in life. She talked about my frustration at not being where I thought I would be by that point (absolutely correct). However, this would be fairly easy to deduce and true for everyone in the group: we were a group of eleven, from every corner of the globe (even if no one talked about our holiday, it was obvious from our accents), in New Orleans together. If someone goes travelling in a group of strangers, everyone is probably a little dissatisfied with their ordinary life – of course, most people would relate to that feeling anyway.
When she turned over the next card, she winced. Encouraging! She told me not to worry too much – she had just turned 32 and was only starting to feel like she had things figured out. I was thinking, ‘Well, I’m starting to worry now, but OK.’ She said I had a difficult few months ahead, but then things would start to fall into place.
It was true. The few months when I came back from the States were awful, because I had had so much fun and it was over and I couldn’t just step back into my old life anymore, blah blah blah. But three and a half months later, things started to turn. And six months later, I was finally contented with my life as well. A lesson I won’t forget is how quickly things change!
So kudos to the lady who did my tarot reading in New Orleans! Although I lean towards the belief that these people are good at reading other people rather than a set of cards, it was eerily accurate of my life at that time. I remembered every single word of it for a good few months – until I didn’t need the reassurance anymore, I suppose.
I might use this one-year anniversary of the trip to revisit some of my other memories and get them written down here before they disappear. In some ways I am amazed that a year has passed; in other ways it seems like much longer. As soon as you get home, the physical distance is matched by a mental one: the experience was so far removed from your normal life, and no one you know shared it with you, so you just have to put it in parenthesis and get back to normal. Every now and then, though, I love to look back on it all. Even if it was only reality for a short while, it was a really great aside.