The last few weeks of my tour was like a damp squib. I made a big mistake in choosing to meet up with a younger girl I met in England after I had returned from San Diego. She was the only person I knew who had already taken a course in NLP. We got together a small group, mostly people she knew, so that we could practice NLP techniques. Such was my enthusiasm at that point to find out more about this method.
She wanted to go to America to do another course in NLP after having finished her first one in England. I agreed to go with her. One of my greatest incentives to go there was that one of my favourite American writers, John Steinbeck, who, in my opinion, is grossly undervalued by that small range of academic people who think they know better than anyone else, was born and bred there.
I wanted to see more of California and I did. Santa Cruz is only twenty-five miles from San Diego. We met in San Francisco, where we spent a couple of days in this beautiful city and then we travelled further north to Santa Cruz, where a branch of The University of California was located. We completed the second NLP course, the subject of which was to train us to teach other people the techniques. Afterwards, I hired a car and drove us both to the wonderful national park of Yosemite, where I saw the Grand Canyon and much of the fauna and flora of this extraordinarily wonderful experience of nature at its most inspiring. The colours were indescribable.
Afterwards we drove into the next state of Arizona, which brought back to me memories of cowboys and Indians films that I loved so much when I was small. The atmosphere of actually being there, was exactly as I had imagined.
So what was I complaining about? This woman I had agreed to travel with me. We had so little in common. I would have enjoyed myself much more if I had gone on my own. She showed very little interest in all the wonderful things we saw. All she wanted to talk about was the complaints she made about what was going on in her private life. She was very ignorant of every conversation I attempted to make with her. I should have known better. I had a life-times experience of not being able to find people who had the same pleasure that I enjoyed when I discovered new things about the planet and the live beings of animals including ourselves. What I cannot abide and refuse to have anything to do with that kind of people whom I call “stuck insiders”, because they are imprisoned, by their own choice, in their own boring little world.
Her presence irritated me far too much. More fool me. I should have learned this lesson many times before and I still find myself falling into the trap. When I am making new discoveries about the world, I like to soak myself in the new environment. It increases my feelings of pleasure and expands my joy in life.
I am reminded of a trip I made to Switzerland some twenty years later, with my daughter. It was a guided tour. My husband was close to death. He was dying slowly of cancer and I and my children helped me to look after him. Anyone who has been in this situation will know what a painful experience this is for those who have to watch this happening to someone they love.
I was told at his hospital that he might well go on in this state for some time to come. My heart sank. How much longer could we all stand this agony?
My husband was a very good patient. He never complained. I suggested to him that I should take Kate and myself, who were with him every day, for a short holiday. He at once agreed. My elder son lived very close by and said he would look after his father whilst we were away. Bob told me that if he should die whilst we were away, we should stay and finish our holiday. This raised a pang in both of us. Nevertheless we went, and it was a very good thing to be away from the situation at home and enjoy the beauty of the Swiss spring with all the flowers glowing in the fields.
It was a wonderful holiday and we both enjoyed the change in environment. We rang Bob up every night to have a talk with him. He wanted to hear what we had seen. He was certainly not a “stuck insider”. He ended with a few jokey words. We were then able to have a restful sleep.
All the travelling was by train and very comfortable it was. The hotel where we stayed in Vervey was run by a single family and I have never seen better. The only thorn in the flesh, which did not bother us, was some of the older people on the trip who, instead of taking in all the beauty around us, gossiped about unimportant chit-chat and noticed nothing.
Bob died a few months later in the Autumn. The holiday we had enjoyed enabled us to feel refreshed and more able to do our best for him.