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My Unexpected Excellent Adventure

This is a guest post from an amazing woman whom I have been following for some time through her personal blog (Adventures in Spiritual Living). This is no ordinary journey however; but one we might each be involved in one day; and if you just need a little more positive inspiration in your life then read on … thank you Marie.

My unexpected excellent adventure

My most recent journey included new foods and ways of eating, interesting activities, magical new relationships, surprising sources of help when I was lost, unplanned side trips, and some physical exertion. Though I relied upon guides for much of it, the journey also demanded that I tap deep into myself to draw upon skills and resources that I didn’t even know I had.

Like any excellent journey, I discovered new sides of myself and experienced fundamental changes as well.

For me, these are the elements of a fabulous trip. Though I can never seem to plan trips like that, I love when they happen and marvel at the serendipities.

Unusual travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.

– Kurt Vonnegut

My most recent travel experience was unplanned: Entering into the world of cancer has truly been a trip of its own.

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with stage IV rectal cancer. Embarking upon this journey, I experienced fear and worry in the unfamiliar territory. I relied on my doctors as my guides and I followed the standard guidebook: I had surgery, did chemotherapy, tried radiation, and did more chemotherapy.

Regular Life again?

When treatment completed, I returned to my regular life, to all that I regarded as normal and everyday.

In essence, I travelled to a new place, saw the sights, and brought home photos. Nothing substantial shifted inside me, and that was fine with me.

Then the cancer returned. The doctors classified it as stage IV. The common assumption is that stage IV cancer means you die. I didn’t want to head there so started looking around for other places to go. I learned of others who had been healed or, at the very least, lived with cancer for a long time. I decided to choose those destinations.

There are plenty of stories of stage IV cancer survivors, but each of them took a different route. I realized that if I wanted to reach my destination, I would have to carve my own path, and possibly define my own destination.

It is not down in any map; true places never are. – Herman Melville

To educate myself, I read books and watched videos that focused on healing. I attended workshops at places like the Kripalu Center in Lenox, MA (USA) to learn healing methods from teachers, such as tapping from Donna Eden and a mind-body approach to healing by Douglas Brady.

Time for more positive action

When I began to accept that I really was now in cancer-land, I started to explore the food. Any-time I travel, I enjoy not only the restaurants but also going to the grocery stores and learning to prepare foods in a new way. So in hindsight, it was natural for me to start by experimenting with food. I learned about raw foods and macrobiotics. I researched new sources of foods, like community-supported farms. I began juicing every day and practising new ways to prepare foods. I learned to love these new foods for what they are and how they can help me. My favourite snacks became sprouted and dehydrated buckwheat groats, thinly-sliced raw cabbage with olive oil, lime juice and a bit of sea salt, or home-made hummus made with sprouted chickpeas.

As with any excellent trip, the more I immersed myself in the culture, the more unforeseen opportunities unfolded. I found amazing acupuncturists, worked with a gifted yoga teacher, and attended religious healing services. Among other things, I practised tong ren, energy healing and sound work. Valuable side trips included meetings with a Vietnamese doctor in Vermont (USA) so that he could feel my pulse and prescribe the herbs for Chinese teas. I regularly met with a woman in Rhode Island (USA) who advised me about herbs and tinctures.

My path involved infusion centres, surgical rooms, emergency departments and radiation tests. I spent days in hospital rooms where the windows wouldn’t open, sometimes where there was no window. There were weeks on end when I couldn’t move to get even a glass of water on my own. Doing without fresh air and water deepened both my appreciation of these basics and my empathy for others who cannot access those.

To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted. – Bill Bryson

When I woke from one surgery, I felt an inner call to go to Lourdes, France, and then again heard that call to return one year later. I experienced the same call to visit John of God in Abadiania, Goias, Brazil. For both Lourdes and Abadiania, I initially tried to ignore the call or push it aside, but it would get louder and louder until I acted on it. Then once I followed each call, life opened up to me in ways that I could not have anticipated or orchestrated.

Richness of travel

My travels are richer when I connect with others, and it is true of this trip as well. I met fellow travellers, each of us creating our own path to our ideal destinations. We share stories and our views of the beauty we see. I am grateful for meeting new friends and for the fresh air they bring into my life. Old friendships take on a new depth as they walk this path with me when they can, and shine their light on it when the path is mine alone. Each of them challenges me to change and grow in love.

The only journey is the one within. – Rainer Maria Rilke

When my world feels too small, I do something for someone else. Doing something to make a positive difference for someone else reliably expands my world as it connects me to others.

The route is seldom easy

There were times where I felt lonely, but when I could avoid feeling sorry for myself, the solitude allowed me to travel into myself. I spent endless days lying in bed, watching the clouds slowly morph and move across the sky or escaping into dreams while my body heals. When I could move again, I realized that I postpone far too many things that I want to do. Now I aim to do what I can, when I can. For example, I took rowing (sculling) classes, something that I have always wanted to try. I started writing, which helps me to understand more of myself and reveals amazing sights on this path, sights that I can easily overlook.

Looking more carefully at these sights, I could suddenly see the face of God in new ways. Paying attention in this unfamiliar territory helped me to see that God is present for me, that he is my true guide. I only need to ask for help, and then stop and listen. Staying connected with the Divine helps me to feel connected to something much larger than myself, and to know that we are part of not only a diverse world but of something much larger.

Whether or not we are in a new physical space, we are all travellers, every moment, if we want to be. I have started to learn to enjoy the journey as if I have already reached my destination.

A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. – Lao Tzu

I hope you take opportunities to dive into your journey as it unfolds, that you find it as rich as your physical trips to foreign lands, and that you learn to dance in new and beautiful ways.

Love and blessings,


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We all wish Marie the very best for the future and hope our own positive attitude to life can complement the many others who currently support and follow Marie on her “work in progress” adventure.  🙂

If you have had a similar experience or would simply like to comment on Marie’s post then please add your comment in the section below and if you wish to enter into discussion on anything she has kindly outlined then again feel free to discuss below

Thanks you


Any questions or feedback can be directed to the comments section below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.  :-D

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This post has been written by a guest author who has yet to create a full author account on Live Free Die Travelling. Whilst much of the content remains original, some aspects may have been changed or edited by the LFDT moderators.

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  1. Reading this today sounds all too familiar for me. My mother also visited Lourdes after having an operation for liver cancer. She found her faith again and went with the nuns from Hammersmith Hospital. She was an inspiration to the people she met. She cared and looked after everyone even though she was ill heself. My father found some herbal tea, that he sent off for to help my mother to recover after her op and he would make this up for her. Like you, she seemed to come to terms with her illness and just carried on with her life. She was a keen Gardener and loved flowers. She planted loads of roses, shrubs and many beautiful coloured flowers. Although she spent lots of time in hospital I never heard her complain once or become bitter about what had happened. Sadly she died when I was 16 and she was 47. Since this time, I have found my own faith again and pray to god and all the angels for help and guidance. I have gone down a spiritual path and this has led me to try new things like yoga and holistic medicine. When I struggle with life I ask for guidance and find that I am never let down and that through different signs from the universe or angels, I am guided along a path. I have met new friends, found a new way of life and have also found that writing helps me express how i am feeling. Although I am scared of most things, I have found an inner strength I did not know I had. I have overcome some massive life challenges and its has not been easy. There have been many tears and still are, but i keep going. I help other people, thats my way. I share my experiences and help others who need my help. Thank you for showing everyone that you can carry on with life regardless of illneses. Its also nice to see people talk about cancer and not be afraid to talk about it. Much Love Ann x

    • Wow, Ann, it sounds like we have so much in common. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. It sounds like she was such a beautiful person on this planet and although I believe that the people we love never truly leave us, it sure would be nice to have them in the physical realm again. My heart goes out to you.

      Your message contains so much power and strength. The first time I read it, I was teary. Lately, I believe that sudden tears are the presence of God.

      I also loved this: “When I struggle with life I ask for guidance and find that I am never let down and that through different signs from the universe or angels, I am guided along a path.”

      God bless you always, all along your path. Thank you for the message and I will hold you in my heart and my prayers.

      Love, light and joy,

  2. You have inspired me to try and do more things and try more things in my life. Please look after you. We often look after everyone and forget ourselves. Take comfort from the professionals and experts that provide such great support and counseling. When you feel down, listen to lots of music and have a good sing song. It lifts your spirit x

  3. I wrote this for an art website called ArtisanHQ.com, for a “How to draw a butterfly” tutorial. I think it fits well here, that no matter what happens in life and what we go through, we are all beautiful creatures.

    Butterflies are such beautiful creatures. The way that they just float around with such freedom is amazing. I always think how nice it is to see them in country meadows among all the wild flowers that grow. A butterfly goes through lots of transformations before it gets to this stage. It reminds me of us all. We all go through changes and then suddenly we also emerge as a different being. The butterfly for me represents new beginnings in life.

  4. So funny – I love the butterfly image! Thank you for pointing this out or I would have missed it. And very true – we all go through changes but we emerge differently and, imo, more beautiful and able to FLY. Thank you for sending this along.
    Great to hear from you!