• Maggie Wheeler

Flights of Fancy

Updated: Sep 29, 2019

I’m going to California

Gonna live the life

Sippin’ on tequila

Night after night

Dreamin’ ‘bout the moment

When everything is right

‘Cause a little bit of love

Goes a long way tonight

Wave, “Going to California”

My trip to California started at 4:00 am last Thursday. Not heading to the airport. In bed, dreaming a strange dream about opening doors in a hallway and hearing the “blip” of my phone tell me someone had okayed each room as I looked into it. What that was about I will never know. But the string of blips finally woke me up, because it was real and coming from the phone on my nightstand.

Mother instinct kicked into high gear. Through blurry eyes, I scanned the notifications on my phone. Odd. Not texts from my girls with an emergency message. Instead, it was postings from Instagram and Twitter. A slew of them, at an ungodly hour. Interesting but not enough to fully wake me. So I turned the phone to vibrate and went back to sleep.

Thus the unusual start to my pilgrimage.

Every Wednesday morning, I post on all my social media outlets: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I keep it to weekly to keep it under control. This past Wednesday, I posted about my upcoming pilgrimage, previously mentioned to my social media and my readers via my newsletter as #my2019pilgrimage. This week, I came clean about my destination on the social media post: a small village on the Northern California coast called Mendocino. It is known to the world as Cabot Cove, Maine, in the still popular TV mystery series Murder She Wrote. Angela Lansbury created an unforgettable and iconic character as only she could in Jessica Beatrice Fletcher. In a few days, I will stand in front of the house used as hers in the series (for the exterior shots).

It will be undeniably a major moment for me as a mystery writer and Lansbury fan. I will walk the streets of Cabot Cove, stay at Hill House Inn (yes, it does exist) and visit Fort Bragg to walk Noyo Harbour, used for the harbourfront of Cabot Cove.

This is my pilgrimage. In a few days, I will board a plane headed southwest with one of my best friends as travelling companion (I am grateful she agreed to go with an #MSWgeek on #my2019pilgrimage). Why a pilgrimage? Why not a flight of fancy?

A pilgrimage has to do with a personal touchstone. Originally connected to religious journeys of faith, the expansion of our lives allows for other forms of pilgrimage. Traveling somewhere to something you’ve always been fascinated by or a place you’ve wanted to experience may be flights of fancy. We all deserve those.

But part of midlife is the act of coming full circle with your past and who you used to be. There is a major personal element to this trip and I will blog about it upon my return. But suffice it to say that the midlife coming full circle is not an act of going backward or nostalgia. It is a revisiting and a recovery of something we left behind—unfinished business or a part of us packed away by time. Something that has come around again and must be explored and acknowledged for it to provide timely inspiration for the future. Pilgrimage is about recovery and celebration.

The 4:00 am blips happened because I had included the Angela Lansbury Twitter people in my tweet text. Never thought I would get a response. They not only liked the tweet, they retweeted to their substantial Twitter base. I was getting likes and responses from people all over that I will never meet about Miss Lansbury and the series, suggestions about the trip, and questions from those who didn’t realize how much is still left of Cabot Cove.

Touchstone for them as well.

I believe that midlife is a time to create a pilgrimage. To mark the midlife threshold, to revisit who we once were and what was once very important to us (and why). Rediscovering ourselves is the midlife project. Rediscover, then recreate and redevelop. Still a journey of faith.

In a few days, I am off on my flight of fancy and rediscovery. I still can’t believe I will be standing in front of that house in a few days, after all these years. Blows my mind. I have spent the last four months watching Murder She Wrote from beginning to end, all 12 seasons on DVD, courtesy of a gift from one of my daughters. I’ve done my homework and I am ready. I’m going in the right way, with full thought and appreciation of this pilgrimage.

We all have touchstones and lost loves. Create a pilgrimage. Take a flight of fancy and rediscover something once so important. You will find a special part of you waiting there for your arrival. It will blow your mind, too.

Just remember to turn your phone to vibrate every night before you go to sleep.

Talk when I get back,


P.S. If you want to follow my adventure, look me up here on social media:

Facebook: MaggieWheeler1st

Instagram: MaggieWheeler4697

Twitter: @MaggieWheeler4

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