All of our local Meet, Plan, Go! hosts have inspiring stories of their own career break travels. In the months leading up to our National Event on October 16, we will introduce them to you so you can see why they are part of our team.
Meet Our 2012 San Diego Host: Elaine Masters
Another lifetime ago, I opened the mailbox one afternoon, found an envelope and ran into the house to call and confirm that I’d won an award for a radio drama I’d produced. Then the reality set in. I had just returned to Portland, Oregon from an amazing 21 days of wandering in Thailand and was expected to be in New York City in two weeks. Turns out that I had a place to stay and frequent flier miles were even offered but I didn’t go! It was “just too much, just impossible,” I told myself and felt more responsible, more righteous for the decision.
But it wasn’t impossible. I stopped myself from going with false humility. It felt like just too much happiness! Fool that I am, I asked a friend who lived in New York to attend and pick up the award for me. My life might have taken a different turn if I’d gone and met the other recipients, the other producers and who knows who else. I turned away from the blessing and back to my safe, predictable world. I’ve regretted it ever since.
I think of it now and wonder about that momentary blip of short-sightedness in a life that’s full of long adventures. While living in Juneau, Alaska, my boyfriend came home resolved to convince me to join him on a 6 month sabbatical to wander the world. I resisted for a few days and then built my defense, made an appointment with my boss at the public radio station I was working at and stepped into possibility. Two friends agreed to job share my position and soon I was off to backpack though the world. Spending weeks driving around the English countryside in a rusted out van, camping throughout the chateau region of France, island-hopping through Greece and nearly a month combing through the wonders, waters and temples of Sri Lanka still fuels my wanderlust. At the end of the trip, I not only still had a job but because I had been gone and out of office politics, was offered a better position!
Since then I’ve managed to live modestly and find work that allows some freedom to travel, but still run into the juggling act between the desire to go, responsibility and finally just doing it.
Two years ago I was invited to join friends on a road trip through New Zealand’s South Island. I can’t say that it was on my bucket list but after poking around the internet couldn’t believe the beauty of the place. It again felt like too much! I couldn’t justify the time away from work, family, pets – the list went on.
This time, however, I stopped thinking and simply knew I had to go. It turned out that journey opened my life to new possibilities, new friendships and alliances that I could never have anticipated. They were there for the taking. The delight of long days wandering through astounding valleys (think ‘Lord of the Rings’ vistas), the fun of white water rafting, filming friends bungee jumping over canyon rivers, slipping out of the summer heat and toasting each other in an ice bar, the astounding Milford Sound and it’s staggering, primordial cliffs –only stoked my desire to explore more.
Another trip materialized a few months later! Again I couldn’t rationalize going but soon found myself teaching Flytime Yoga at 30,000 feet to a group of drowsy underwater photographers en route to Fiji. It was another unbelievable adventure – swimming with sharks, night diving, meeting other world travelers. Again my business and life were enhanced in dozens of surprising ways. The ripple effects continue to amaze me.
My usual gratitude practice centers on a day well lived; on health, friends, having a safe, quiet place to live and work that inspires me. I could never have anticipated the boon travel has given me and now that I’ve learned to say yes, new opportunities continue to sweep into this otherwise simple life. I’m still learning to open up and receive. My independent spirit is relinquishing its misguided, knotted resistance and unfolding.
When I can’t be on the road, I travel vicariously through the community of travelers that has been growing in San Diego. Meet, Plan, Go! has helped me be of greater service, to connect ever more deeply with my fellow humans and all the species we share this amazing planet with.
So go, just say Yes!
Elaine J. Masters grew up taking road trips and is a travel writer, international scuba diver, award-winning author of Drivetime Yoga and a Yoga teacher. She’s lived in many major cities (and a few smaller ones) along the west coast from Juneau, Alaska to San Diego, CA. Her podcast, The Gathering Road, airs on the WRN. Her stories and travel tips are at TripWellness.com and DrivetimeYoga.com.
Elaine’s been mentioned on NBC New York Go Healthy, Women’s Day Magazine, San Diego Living, Fox.com, Huffington Post, Meetings & Conventions Magazine & Passporter.com. She has spoken at NATJA, SYTAR, San Diego Meeting Planners, hospitals, hospice, businesses and networking groups helping commuters, business and recreational travelers stay happy, pain free and productive. One of her favorite memories is teaching Flytime Yoga at thirty thousand feet on a flight to Fiji!
Join us on October 16, 2012 for our nationwide Meet, Plan, Go! events: