People often ask me where I vacation since I live in paradise! For years I didn’t have an answer for that because I didn’t vacation much. I convinced myself that I lived on a tropical island and I really didn’t need to go anywhere. After all, people pay a lot of money to spend a week or two a year on this sunny little rock I call home!
True, I live in a beautiful place, and I can enjoy it anytime I want. The trouble is that I just didn’t. I didn’t take advantage of the fabulous white sand beaches and perfect turquoise blue waters that surround me daily. I didn’t stop to appreciate the feeling of the Caribbean sunshine on my skin, or admire the swaying fronds of the regal palms. There was just so much to do! I didn’t sit still, I worked extremely hard and filled up my “free” time with either more work, chores or extracurricular activities. Theater, volunteer work, committees, boards - if I had an extra hour in my day and someone asked me to do something, I said yes. I felt more like a human DO-ING than a human BE-ING. I didn’t have many friends, when people asked me to do things that were social I told them I didn’t have time. “Don’t they know how busy I am?!” The truth is, I had just as much time as anyone else, even those smiling vacationers milling about the island who I so envied. I just didn’t make time to have fun, or stop to enjoy life.
That all changed for me two years ago. I did something crazy and agreed to take a vacation with a friend in the height of my busiest season. This was something that was beyond crazy to me. Not putting my work first felt like the end of the world. What would happen? What would I miss? I was supposed to work all the time, and always be available for anyone who needed me - because let’s face it, jewelry is a necessity right?! I’m not an ER doctor, my job isn’t life or death, but to me it almost felt that way. Good thing I watch Grey’s Anatomy - a constant reminder about how no one will die if I take a couple days off and I am not there to sell you a necklace.
So in February of 2017, I set off with my friend on a music cruise called “Sail Across the Sun”. The name comes from a line in the song, “Drops of Jupiter” by the band Train, who are the hosts of this particular cruise. The artwork and logo design that year was a sea turtle - I felt like that was a sign. The big draw and main reason we went on this cruise, was one particular musician in the lineup, Michael Franti. My friend has seen him perform earlier that year, and said his music and performances were pretty much life changing. I didn’t quite believe her. YET.
That all changed after four of the most amazing days ever, sailing to Mexico with a boat full of musicians and music loving fans. On the first night of the cruise, after Train played the sail away party, Michael Franti took to the stage on the ship’s pool deck. No one, and I mean no one I’ve ever seen, ignites a crowd like Franti. He sang, he jumped, he danced and he walked through the crowd playing his guitar and singing. He encouraged the crowd to hug your neighbor, introduce yourself to a stranger and brought a bunch of children up on stage to help him sing his popular song, “Sound of Sunshine”. He shared stories of the inspiration for his songs, including the diversity of his family, the song he wrote when he proposed to his wife and songs about how your whole life can change in just a moment.
I kept thinking on those 4 days on that boat, that this was a “getting my groove back” trip. I made new friends, opened myself up and started to believe again that there is good, love and positivity in the world. I met Michael Franti himself, got to hug the six-plus foot tall “Soulrocker” and even hung out with him and his wife Sara in the Headphone Disco, dancing, singing and drinking tequila.
Not only was my groove back, but everyone kept telling me that was glowing. I felt like I had just found my way out of a very dark cave, back into the light and into a whole new world that felt like freedom and sounded like sunshine. I felt joy flooding back into my life like warm glowing sunlight. Where had this been? How had I lost sight of something as simple as FUN!?
I’ve continued to travel to see Michel Franti & Spearhead perform including shows at Red Rocks in Colorado and the Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Each experience is more incredible and soul enriching than the last. In fact, in December 2018, after one of his performances in Mexico (at a music festival called Closer to the Sun), I ran into him at the bar, and shared my story with him; how his music and performances were a catalyst for major change in my life and that I had stepped out of the darkness and into the light, because of the experience of his music.
I stood in front of the tall musician feeling like a small child, my voice shook as I told him I had something to give him. Then I pulled a small velvet pouch out of my pocket and presented him with one of my sun medallion necklaces. I had brought this along with me with the intention of giving to him, but not really being sure that I would do it. I told him that I had created this jewelry collection with the symbol of the sun because of his inspiration, his message and what the sun represented to me.
Franti and I rocking our matching sun necklaces!
The Sun Collection is a reminder to BE the light and to bring sunshine and joy into the world, everyday. A smile, a pleasant good morning or a simple act of kindness really goes a long way to bring more positive energy into everyday life. It’s a reminder to me to be more like Michael Franti, and to truly share that light with the world.
Franti wearing the Sun Necklace at 'Closer to the Sun' in Mexico
See the necklace I gave to Michael here >> The Sun Medallion Necklace
Check out the entire sun collection here >> The Sun Collection
A little more about the inspiration for this collection here >> Here Comes the Sun Collection