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Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Toll and Joy of travel

My wife and I have just returned from Bermuda to our perfectly good life here in Valencia, but somehow it didn't seem like a rational thing to do. We visited family and friends in Bermudiful Bermuda which is an island country that is gearing up for the most exciting period in its history. The America's Cup race is about to get under way attended by almost 100 world class motoring yachts, plus Tall Ships, Cruise ships, and thousands and thousands of spectator boats and musical events and people from around the world. This may be the greatest America's Cup event ever and we have walked away from it.

Travel has become such a miserable experience to get from one place to another but if you were in our shoes you would endure it over and over a thousand times to be able to enjoy the heartwarming time we shared with family and friends. For me I got to meet my two newest great grand children, Ava who is two and James who is two months. I am now the father of three offspring, three grand children, and three great grand children. That is quite a package to travel to be with and I would do that any way in which I had to. However, sitting still for seven hours regresses my age. I found myself thinking; "are we there yet?"

Coming back to my Spanish home has brought on a certain depression as we have come down from our own Bermuda High. The saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder is so true. To begin with Bermuda must surely be the most beautiful island nation in the world. I found my fellow Bermudians to be their usual friendly selves although there are problems to be resolved. I think the remedy is at hand because Bermuda is perhaps the luckiest place on earth. To have been selected for the America's Cup means that they will receive publicity unlike any other, and providing things go smoothly and without human folly the positive publicity this tourist destination will receive cannot be bought.

It has been three years since we were last there so the opportunity to spend time with my family was so precious, and to see friends again is priceless. I keep saying that to find really good friends is rare. Once we have them they are to be treasured. Ideally I would like to return at least once a year but being a retiree I have to watch my pennies. Of course one really sweet win from the lottery could solve that problem.

Today, May 6th is the 30th anniversary of the XL Catlin End-to-End walk for charity. This is something I was involved in starting thirty years ago with friends and it has continued under the very able chair of Anne Mello. We watched via live feed this morning the start of the annual event from the eastern end of the island of the walkers who will walk a full marathon to the western end and right into the America's Cup village. The walkers are followed by cyclists and runners and swimmers and horse riders, who pick up participants along the way. What a day this will be, so I truly wish we were there.

I give a special shout out to Joan Dismont, Ms End-to-End who has never missed one year's event. This year she will have to but her spirit will be there, so Joan, this one's especially for you.

I also want to pay homage to a whole group of people who I call "my people" as they are The Bermuda Senior Islanders. So many of this group I grew up with and we got a little chance to reminisce about the good old days. That was so special to me and as I said, were I a permanent resident I would be a proud Bermuda Senior Islander. We only get to say that if we have been very, very lucky. Fred Hassell, Director, if you didn't already exist we would have had to invent you.

At the departure gates in saying goodbye to my  two precious daughters, Donna and Carol I almost lost it. I am so very blessed to have seen them grow to be a part of the solution and to make me  so very proud. I share that pride with their mother, the late Violeta. Just when the tears were about to flow the security man made me take off my shoes and my belt and that brought me back to reality with a bang. My pants were about to fall down in public. That will make you concentrate every time.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael