Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Word from Alaska

I've received letters and questions from all over the world -- as far as Thailand and Australia, New Zealand, India, and Colombia. Last night, I received a letter from someone in Alaska, and that gave me such a thrill! It made me think about how my brother ran a marathon to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through Team in Training (www.lls.org) -- with the marathon in Alaska, we heard all about the whales, bald eagles, and the warning that you *might* get a polar bear on the running path. That would certainly shave a few minutes off of my running time ;)

Having just seen the Jane Goodall special 'Return to Gombe,' I'm amazed at the behavior of wild animals, the Alpha competitions and brutality in one minute and the tenderness of a mother with her twin babies in the next minute. This too brought me back to the summer when my friend Jen hosted me at a lecture given by Jane Goodall...I wish I could go back to that moment again.

As you plan your wedding, think about the eye-opening experiences offered by the place where you'll go for your honeymoon. Don't just think about hammocks by the beach and meal plans. What can you pre-learn about the culture? What tastes and sounds will open you to the world out there? A honeymoon is meant to be an escape after the wedding plans, but it can also be an escape from the same-old routine of your life. I hear stories of couples who checked their e-mail, texted their friends, lived on pizza and beer even in the most exotic locations. That's fine if that's your thing, but to avoid any sense of 'I wish I could go back,' try to devote a % of your honeymoon to All Things New and Different. It could be just one day. So many couples say they have a divide between them -- one wants to do all adventurous things and the other wants to just lie down on the beach and chill out. The best honeymoons are 50-50. You'll need a good amount of downtime the first few days, even if you think you have everything under control now. The people *around* you will ratchet up the stress level for the wedding, and any number of small adjustments can pop that last straw onto your back. So give yourselves day #1 and day #2 of your honeymoon to just unwind, keep your schedule as flexible as possible, and give yourselves the gift of some new adventures and the absorption of another culture and mindset. Over 20 years later and I still feel a deep relaxation from the vibe in Bermuda. I can still taste the poi from Hawaii, even though I thought it was disgusting at the time. I can still see the heads on the shrimp in Martinique, and taste the tiny little squares of cheese from a tasting menu. How much I would have missed without these great adventures.

Joe and I booked our honeymoon this weekend, and when the time comes, I'm sure we'll mix up our combined need to Chill with our need for culture and adventure. The world comes together in resort locations, so talk to your fellow honeymooners to absorb even more of a worldly infusion. You never know who you're going to meet, and what will cross your path...