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Let the journey begin.

Paul Carter starting the journey in Lenox, Massachusetts.Today, my friend Ken Nelson, dropped me off in town, where I boarded the Peter Pan bus bound from Lenox, Massachusetts, for New York City, where tomorrow I’ll catch a flight to Detroit to visit my sister Jan and kin for a few days. Then, it’s on to California to visit daughters Mary and Laura plus hubbies and grand kids.

From there, I may visit friends Jim and Joyce in Maine, and then – on to even more big adventures in the Caribbean.

My plan is to travel light and in the moment. One backpack and one small carry-on suitcase helps. Flying stand-by, courtesy of my pilot daughter Laura, allows me to keep schedules flexible. Laura can switch flights for me in a heart beat, so I book everything else (bus travel, motels, etc.) at the last minute in case I want to change the adventure. It’s amazing how liberating that is.

Getting from the Peter Pan destination, New York’s Port Authority bus terminal on the West Side Mid-Manhattan, to my motel near LaGuardia Airport in the Queens was a challenge tonight. A half hour trip on the E train to Jackson Heights, and another half hour by the Q33 bus took me mostly through Spanish neighborhoods. The trip seemed very much like a preview of the Dominican Republic, where I expect to start volunteering in January. When asking questions while I stood in line for the bus in the Queens, I began to appreciate how really important it will be to get my Spanish language skills down.

The only real hitch today was when the bus driver inadvertently dropped me off a good 10 minutes from my motel. So I had to hoof it with backpack and carry-on. Good thing I had a stampede string on my hat, because my route took me down one avenue with a direct opening to Manhattan’s skyline, I was pushing directly into a hefty breeze.

I was grateful for the first in my five priorities for living well and long – i.e. health. The lower body weight training and bicycling really paid off when navigating the many subway stairs, and walking against the wind.

My nutrition program paid off, too. Saturday is the one day of the week when I get to eat anything I want. Today it was a bag of Sun Chips for lunch and a Chicken Parmesan with a glass of Merlot for dinner. Oh yes. And on the way back to the motel, I snagged a pint of Ben and Jerry’s chocolate ice cream from a local Queens market. I have no problem communicating in Spanish when it comes to ordering ice cream. Mmmmmmmmm!

Here’s to a good night’s sleep and an early rising to catch my flight to Detroit in the morning.

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