Following my intuition is so much more fun than following a map.
Mine is a magic cocktail blending awareness, body-inclination, and signs.
I’m not sure why I felt compelled to come this far south. Or compelled to come to Savannah, Georgia in particular. It’s certainly not along the obvious route from Ontario to Arizona! And it’s a city, which I typically avoid.
But at some point in the last couple of days, I felt the tug. I liked how the name Savannah sounded when I thought it. It was soft, like fuzzy slippers. At some point this afternoon, I said “Christmas in Savannah” out loud and smiled and how lovely it sounded. That was my body’s inclination. To smile.
Then a song came on the radio, called “Havana.” (Oooo Na Na)
I thought of my daughter and our 6 week van-trip through US National Parks last year. It was our jam. During an unforgettable adventure. And we knew all the words. It’s an ear worm, and I invite you to be infected. It will also add to your reading experience as well, hehehe.
Anyway, I started singing “Savannah, Oooo Na Na” (followed by “I’m spending Christmas in Savannah, Ooooo Na Na”) and the decision was made and entered into my GPS. Savannah it was.
When you follow your intuition, other details matter very little because you pretty much know the experience is simply waiting for you to arrive.
I booked a motel in the historic district, not compelled to ask a lot of questions. The only criteria I had was it be in a good walking district, and that Pippa be welcome.
If there is normally traffic in Savannah, it moved out of the way for me.
A man literally met me in the parking lot of the motel and escorted me to the front desk, where a woman greeted me with the biggest smile and said “You must be Kit.” We had talked on the phone.
She had a room for me in a corner ground- floor unit with parking right outside the door and a dog area beside it. She said the room would be ready in an hour and suggested we take a walk to the City Market, just a block away. First criteria satisfied. We had our walk!
I came upon the First African Baptist Church and wondered if there were any Christmas services there, and felt moved to explore this further. I really wanted to go inside, but wasn’t sure why. I made a mental note to explore later.
Pippa’s pet store was still open, and she had apparently pre-ordered her holiday chews. Yeah, it was even a Pippa-dog statue. I passed on the wine, which is no small feat let me tell you, and petted my dog extra. Pip was officially welcome. Second criteria? Check!
People were hanging out in the square, eating gelato or drinking coffee on patios. There were horse drawn carriages complete with hoof clopping and bell jingling.
Although there were little shops open and it was 3:00 on Christmas Eve day, there was no frenzy. Just festivity.
We got checked into our room and I tucked Pippa in so I could go for dinner. I was directed by a local fellow to a local oyster bar called “Sorry Charlie’s”. Intuitive Travel (I might just coin this phrase if it hasn’t been coined already!) involves ignoring Trip Advisor and only asking local people for recommended experiences. This allows for the proper unfolding of fate.
Enter Marty and Georgie. They are sisters. And definitely part of this fate. They are sat at the bar and the only empty seat in the restaurant is beside them. Marty just happens to be the Chief Operating Officer for the city of Savannah.
Of course she is.
Savannah, Oooo Na Na.
Then unfolds the delightful dinner-experience of seeing the city through the eyes of a woman who shares, passionately, some of her city’s vision around social justice, housing initiatives, tackling racism and urban development. She is literally a voice for Savannah. With hopefulness and action for a strong community united across race and socio-economic disparity.
She made sure I ordered local oysters and crab cakes, and while I ate she told me that just down the road in the First African Baptist Church there is hole in the floor that was an entry point to the Underground Railroad. Many slaves left Savannah through this network of allies and many went all the way to Canada.
Nova Scotia Canada, I’m thinking.
We talk about road trips and retirement (she retires in June) … deciding together that “retirement” can be the most powerful chapter in a woman’s life.
A time to do the heart-work that for so many years had to simmer on the back burner because there were other things on the front ones. Or perhaps we have simply lived long enough to know a few things, and as a result of this knowing finally become the authority in our own lives.
The ladies say goodnight and Merry Christmas, and I eat peanut butter pie for dessert. Because it’s Christmas.
But Savannah had one more surprise for me today.
An internet friend and her partner, who I’ve never met but always suspected I would, happen to be camped 20 minutes away, and we are having coffee together before I leave. She was one of my first internet friends in the road-tripping world. It’s going to be lovely to meet her.
Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night.
From Savannah, Fa La La.