Serendipity and a Single GRRRL Traveler

she'll grow into it

Update on my big move:
Next week I’ll be leaving Hawaii for Korea! It’s a bit stressful for me now and unfortunately, my family is buffering the bitch in me (it’s always the loved ones, who get the short end…). How stressed am I? My body is communicating to me via adverse reactions. My last big move was to New York – I broke out in two months worth of hives on my back legs! Current symptom? Anal retention. My body is tense and only tons of laxatives and cleansers can unlock it; ultimately, leaving my GRRR in an uncomfortable whimper and me, with a sore ass! How’s that for irony- literal and metaphoric?

So last week I had lunch with my warm friend, inspirational coach and  leading Hawaii celebrity and jazz musician, Jimmy Borges.
We talked about my move into expat life, the unknown of what might result of my year abroad and how the ticking clock of age has me pummeling towards career insecurities and imagined deadlines.  Jimmy being the jazzy-cool but full of Aloha personality he is, held a worldly-wise twinkle in his eye and dropped one word on me –

… Serendipity.


Local celeb, Jimmy Borges & me at the Mariposa in Honolulu

Count on musicians to be smooth and proverbial like that. A  jazz singer and ex-Hawaii 5-0 cast member (fun trivia I love noting about him!), Jimmy has lived serendipity. He’s survived a 55 year passion for performing  jazz and it’s graced him with industry awards, travel, book signings, documentary deals and a large fan base; basically, the status of a legend! Pretty remarkable, right?  Obviously, Jimmy didn’t foresee his success when he started out… As a Hawaiian making a name for himself in the mainland, he didn’t appear to have the obvious markings of a jazz singer- he was neither black or white, but Pacific Rim brown! His crooner’s voice had to be honeyed enough to able to erase color. To do this, he honed his process through defiant self-belief, hard work, a faith in his partnership with the unknown and the happy-and sometimes, “accidental”- discoveries, which he trusted would shape his ultimate destiny.

But why was he mentioning “serendipity” to me? What did that mean?…

Having spent 30+ years of my life as an artist- serendipity was something I once knew well; now, my first impulse was to Wikipedia it!  I tried to mask my perplexity with a poker face, but that word –serendipity– made me as uncomfortable as wanting to check my armpit for a bad odor! But my reek was obvious… something had died. My life had shifted from a once Ms. Happy & Lightweight Artsy-Fartsy gal to a now Ms. Career-Tick-Tock-“I’m On-It!” workaholic. How could I have fallen alien to my self? Had my New York City militant life hardened me into stone? Did all my efforts to find myself and grow a career, result in sacrificing precious parts of myself?

Yeah, probably…

Single Female Traveler takes on the World

Well into my late 30’s (something I’m having difficulty dealing with), am I too jaded and crotchety to start looking at serendipity? I hope not; yet, try as I might, there will be little brevity in me to explore it before my move. This is my second geographical move in the past two months, I’m juggling a laundry list from tying up taxes, office work, collecting money from clients who haven’t paid me and a mountain of things to prepare for my year in Korea.  Getting a credit card? Check. Dealing w/ banking issues abroad? Finally figured it out. What’s a Certificate of Residence & who’s the IRS? Another meeting with my accountant should seal that…  I’m one word-

… Overwhelmed.

People think that “being single” equates personal freedom; but when you’re single and avoiding the slow and inevitable gravitational of your late 30’s (... cat claws dug into the ground..), personal freedom only comes after you’ve tackled a massive load of “life” that would be easier split by two brains! In fact, to be single is to be the anti-thesis of the word; in actuality, you must learn to become “many”! You suck it up and become your own companion, advisor, best friend, shoulder to cry on, bartender, nurse, psychiatrist and parent, etc…

Did I ever imagine I’d have to learn to be my own “Prince” to rescue myself? God no.

Regrets? None.

But truthfully, it was never my “girlish dream” to be as independent and self-sufficient as I am or have had to be. Frankly, sometimes I feel too “macho” for my own good and this debilitates sexy… and at my age, you want to feel sexy!

My latest Fortune Cookie Proverb

Serendipity is essential

…and not just because John Cusack found the girl of his dreams through happenstance! The magic that serendipity weaves is a huge part of the “creative process” and youth of many artists, performers, dreamers and travelers, who like Jimmy, live by the code of inspired passion and its ability for improvisation.  Life doesn’t always turn out the way we hope, despite the best laid plans; at best, we attempt to sculpt our life as it flops around like a fish out of water.

Serendipity is trusting life to open doors to opportunities we’re better equipped to finding success in.

Perhaps serendipity is why I’m cutting out and going abroad. Life check. Can I playfully surf those wind-spirited waves of travel? Will I be more creative, softer, more relaxed and inspired by the simpler things? How I’d love to explore my vulnerabilities as a single woman and rejoice in moments of feeling naïve, helpless… even air-headed! Who knows what life in Korea holds? New apartment, new job, new friends, new wardrobe… The one thing I trust with certainty is- I don’t know where my life will ultimately lean. Sometimes, it has a mind of its own and I’m just along for the ride!  Perhaps, I’ll find my life can be simple, inspired, passionate and remarkably fallible.  Maybe…

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6 Comments. Leave new

  • What a great article – especially the line: “In fact, to be single is to be the anti-thesis of the word; in actuality, you must learn to become “many”! ” Brilliant and so true!

    • @Kristin: Thanks for dropping your comment. Gauging from the sizable trips you’ve taken, you definitely know what mean and maybe then some… 😉 Loving some of the inspiration you carry into your own blog.

  • Are you really in your late 30’s??? You fooled me. That can’t be true. We are connected in more ways than one. 🙂

    Serendipitous encounters or collisions.. I use to scoff at such things, but it’s like you said on Skype the other day, in travel mode manila folders of moments are thrown at the recipient. Doors open and what’s on the other side is usually meant to be. 😀

  • I definitely had to overcome similar obstacles when I moved to Cancun by myself. Still, I am a much stronger and more independent person than I ever thought I’d be.

    Even if you feel frustrated sometimes, remember that there are lots of ladies that have lived in the same place all their lives that are probably jealous of your life. You have some awesome opportunities, so continue to live it up! Especially because I love reading about your adventures. 🙂

  • Wow, can I relate to this. I love how you put it — that being single, we have to become the many. I used to think my married with kids friends had it tougher than me–so many more balls in the air, so to speak. But then I realized they have HELP from spouses and older kids to get everything done. They share the load. When you’re single, you don’t have anyone to share the load with. I don’t think coupled people understand how much work that is. They just see the freedom of being single, without seeing the responsibilities of it.

    And yes, when you’re planning a major overseas trip and trying to get it all figured out by yourself…I can easily see why it feels overwhelming. All I can say is, hang in there. Remind yourself that others have done this before you. If they made it, you can too. Have you connected with any travelers on Twitter who are familiar with Korea? You might be able to get some help from them when you have questions.

    • Thanks for the support, grrrlies ! 😉
      @gringationcancun Yeah, your solo move must have been tough & scary- I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like w/ Cancun! I think seeing yr progress & feeling like Superwoman is def. a consolation, but sometimes, you just want to be Lois Lane. LOL. Years ago, a gf told me- “Chris, you don’t know how tired I am of being called Strong. I just want to take a break from it, sometimes”. Now, I get it. As a single – you are yr own Atlas, holding up yr world 24/7. If life is stormy or scary, you can’t really put yr world down to be helpless or vulnerable. I’m looking forward living in SK- I have less expectations for myself & it might let me put my world down a bit… allow me to be softer. Thnx for the encouragement..I shall keep pluggin along! 😉

      @Gray: Yeah, marrieds all think its just kicking back w/ a PR pina colada like its all easy! They don’t see the hidden strings- the stress factor, traveling a country (for you there were dangerous aspects to it) alone, the research to ensure safety, etc…. Perhaps as a single, we shouldn’t let them see the hidden strings & continue to look glamorous! LOL. I know the grass is always greener…everyone makes a compromise in some way. Once I get on the plane, I’ll exhale and drop my ball!

      I know there are expat communities, but haven’t connected with Korea Tweeple yet- thanks, I’ll look into it.


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