Looking Forward

by Gray Cargill on December 31, 2008

I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year in 2009.  Once in awhile, a year will come along that is a struggle for people, and so it’s a bit of a relief to see it end.  2008 was one of those years for me.  I spent the better part of the year learning to let go of things that weren’t good for me and rebuilding my life in a new direction.  I’m still a work in progress, but then, without constant growth and change, we stagnate and die.  When I see how far I’ve come in less than year, I have great hopes for 2009.  As this year draws to a close, the economy has many people in a bad place and fearing for the future.  People have lost their life savings, their jobs. If you’re one of those people, hold on.  Grieve for what you’ve lost, and then look forward. You will come out on the other side of this.  You will grow.  You will be stronger.  Your life will be better than ever. Have faith.

Consider the people of New Orleans, and all they suffered when Hurricane Katrina hit.  I don’t know about you, but when I was watching the devastation on the news, I thought the city was gone for good.  How could they ever recover from that? I thought.  Well, the city still has not recovered 100%, but they’re working on it. Despite all the broken promises of the US government, the lack of help they’ve received, they haven’t given up.  You can still see the scars all over the city–watermarks on buildings, the Katrina tattoos.  The population is about half of what it was.  But the people who returned aren’t quitters.  They are passionate about this city.  They go about their lives and their work every day, rebuilding in a slow and steady way, with hope for the future.  There’s a lesson to be learned from them.

I have just returned from my first trip to the “Crescent City” with a much better understanding of the people there, their rich and proud history, and the causes of and fallout from Hurricane Katrina.  I had some misconceptions about what happened that were dispelled during this trip.  I came home with more knowledge and food for thought, and I’m grateful for that.  I won’t say the trip went as I expected it would.  It didn’t.  Some of the things I was looking forward to were disappointments to me, while other things that I didn’t have many expectations for turned out to be the most meaningful. I hope to return to this amazing, culturally rich city some day, but I will do things differently next time.  Expect to read more about this during January, as I blog about my experiences there.

If you have the money and time to travel in the coming year, please do consider going to New Orleans.  They need our tourist dollars badly. Don’t believe the rumors that the city isn’t safe.  I am a woman who went there alone, and walked all over the French Quarter and parts of the Warehouse District and Garden District by myself, and I felt perfectly safe.  You can have a great time in this city and also be doing good just by spending your tourist dollars here.

My wish for you all (and myself) in the new year is more and better travel, and experiences that will provide you with new knowledge and warm memories to last a lifetime.  Laissez le bon temp roulez!

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