While taking A Million Steps on the Camino de Santiago, droves of people crossed my path. In many ways, my new endeavors are similar to being on the trail as I am fortunate to meet so many people and share stories. In the past, the serendipitous nature of these intersections astounded me. Now I accept that the universe is in charge and everything is meant to be.
Over the previous 12 months, I have done 100 events. Most are free, some are paid, and all are fun! Last weekend, I was extremely fortunate to be included as a paid speaker at the Sun Valley Wellness Festival. With 50 years in my rear view mirror, 47 of them have included time in that magic Wood River Valley. I do not remember taking the 150 mile drive with as much excitement as I had last Friday.
Diana Nyad was the keynote speaker and I was invited to an intimate private reception prior to her presentation. If you need a dose of inspiration click here to see her TED Talk. I have looked forward to meeting her for several months. A few weeks ago, one of the festival board members asked me to transport another speaker from Boise to Ketchum. I was a bit nervous about the timing, but felt compelled to help. His flight landed at 1:20 and the reception started at 4:30. United decided that we were not meant to unite at the scheduled time. The private reception was off the table and making the keynote was questionable. In my head and heart, I knew that if I needed to meet Diana, it would happen.
Tyrone Hayes fought the law and the law did not win. I had the pleasure of spending several hours with him on the drive to Sun Valley. He is an outspoken scientist that tells the truth about a herbicide that is applied to over 50% of all corn crops. Click here for a story about him from The New Yorker. We arrived with about five minutes to spare before Diana took the stage. The lady that took my ticket at the door said, “I love your blog and look forward to reading it every Tuesday.” I almost cried. Linda and her spectacular husband, Ray “of light”, heard me speak last summer and signed up for the automatic email.
The keynote was powerful. After the event, I spent some time mingling before going back to my room. While answering some emails, I remembered a commitment to drop off a stack of books at the vendor table the lobby. The lady at the reception desk was very kind at check-in so I stopped to give her a book. I turned around and almost ran into Diana. She was unencumbered and alone in the the hallway. We spent about ten minutes chatting and she was extremely personable. At the end, I extended my hand with a book and said, “You probably receive gifts all the time, so I will not be crushed if this is a future boat anchor. If you don’t want it, I will not be offended.” She replied, “Not only will I read it, but I will send you an email with my thoughts.”
Arielle Ford kicked off Saturday morning with a great presentation. During the talk, she introduced her husband. Brian was two seats from me. After the gig, I talked to him for about ten minutes. I told him about the Camino and he asked if I had seen Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago. I turned to the back cover of my book and pointed to an endorsement quote from the film’s director. He laughed and told me that one of his friends had recently seen the motion picture in Washington D.C. Later that night, Brian and I became FB friends. He had communicated with his D.C. acquaintance and we discovered that we all know each other.
I had never met my publicist in person. Around 5:00 PM, she and her friend Gary piled into my car for the nickel tour of the area. We drove by the homes of the rich and famous, took a short hike in Adam’s Gulch, and paid our respect at the grave of Ernest Hemingway. A flask of bourbon and a pack of Marlboro’s were mixed with arrays of pennies atop the flat black monument. We had dinner at Globus followed by coffee at Velocio. A local band was in the midst of a Pink Floyd medley as I ordered my latte. We capped the night with a party at a great party at the spectacular Friesen Art Gallery. Linda and Ray “of light” were there and they talked about their love of Trader Joe’s. I agreed to be their courier when I return to Ketchum in late June. Linda wants me to bring several packages of inner peas.
I had the time of my life presenting on Sunday morning. After the show, I gathered my belongings, turned up the tunes, and drove home. Smiling ear-to-ear for all 150 miles.