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A few weeks ago my husband and I headed out on a small vacation.  Mercury was retrograde, offering up delays and problems with our travel from the get go.  Between traffic issues getting to the airport and extremely long lines going through airport security, we arrived at the gate with minutes to spare, only to be told our seats had been given away.  This set in motion a day of stand by travel that was tiring and stressful.

Our first stop took us to Los Angeles International Airport. Upon arrival at LAX, I decided to use the lady’s room before we began the next leg of our stand by challenge.  There in the stall, sitting on top of the paper dispenser was a hard bound book.  I took the book outside with me and looked inside to see if the owner had her contact information listed.  It was there, along with her used boarding passes.  Los Angeles was her destination on this part of her journey and she had already left the airport. I left her a phone message and offered to send her the book upon my return home.  I also offered to read her the itinerary and phone numbers she had hand written on a sheet of paper, if she needed them. I could tell by her name, hand writing and information that she was an older lady and it seemed she had traveled to Los Angeles to attend a family wedding. I didn’t want her to stress over the loss of the book or information.

The book traveled with us and as our long day unfolded it was taken in and out of my carry on several times. It struck me that had we not been detoured at the beginning of our trip I would not have found the book.  I knew it was Kismet. Then it occurred to me to document the book’s journey, so when I did return it to the owner, I could include that story along with the book.

The following is the letter I sent along with the book to its owner:

Dear Ruth,

Enclosed is your book, “Heading Out to Wonderful.”  The title seems appropriate since you were heading out to a wonderful wedding in Los Angeles and my husband and I were heading out on a wonderful vacation to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Finding your book in the Los Angeles airport was fortuitous.  We were not supposed to be in Los Angeles that day at all, but circumstances threw our travel plans into disarray. Instead of a quick one stop flight from Sacramento to Albuquerque, we went on an all day, multi airport, multi flight, stand-by adventure that included finding your book.

I have no idea the subject matter of your book, but the title “Heading out to Wonderful” leads one to form optimistic conclusions of life’s journeys.  I can tell you heading out to wonderful and encountering it can be two different things. Life can give us twists and turns that takes us down different roads (or airports) and heads us out in different directions than our original destination or intent. Sometimes this is a great adventure, and other times only a detour that, for whatever reason slows us down and eats our time.

After realizing that you had already left the airport in Los Angeles and that the book would be traveling with us on our journey, I decided to document some of the book’s travels and make it a bit of fun.  Perhaps, the book itself had its own idea of what “Heading out to Wonderful” looked like. Maybe it was adverse to Southern California or knew this was its only chance to see some of our great land. Just in airports alone, it saw Greensboro, Charlotte, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Albuquerque, San Diego and Sacramento. Then it went via land to Santa Fe, The Puye Cliff Dwellings, Taos, Red River and back to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It visited museums, art galleries, churches, pueblos, shops and restaurants.  It was on the Old Santa Fe Trail and the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway. I didn’t photograph it everywhere but took a few pictures so you would have a sense of its travels.

The book has been waiting patiently with us here in Lincoln, California to head back home to you. My husband hit the ground running with his work when we returned home and it took him a few days to get the photos printed from our trip.  I apologize for the delay.

I look at the book’s title as it sits here on my coffee table waiting to make the return trip home. “Heading Out to Wonderful” I think is a great place to start, no mater what the outcome, if we set our intention to head there we should find a bit of wonderful everywhere.

I hope you enjoy finish reading the book and the subsequent discussion with your book group. Perhaps the group’s discussion of the book’s travels will be a sweet departure from the actual fictional journey covered within its pages.

Happy Trails!

A few weeks later my husband brought in the mail and handed me a package.  I opened it up and there was the book!  Heading Out to Wonderful!  Inside was a lovely note from Ruth thanking me, money to cover the postage of “Wonderful’s” initial return to her and conversation about the book’s adventures, her book club discussion and her granddaughters wedding.  The book was now mine for keeping or passing on as I see fit. I will of course read it and pass it on.  Travel seems to be part of the books destiny.

I was touched. A little bit of humanity along with some old-fashioned kindness and communication all from the hand of  Mercury Retrograde.  No matter where our journey is taking us we should remember we are always Heading out to Wonderful, wherever that may be!

Heading Out to Wonderful is a book by Robert Goolrick

Lisa Joiner

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© Lisa Joiner and HighRoadpost, 2014 Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Joiner and HighRoadPost.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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