The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge: My Best Trip of 2009

Me jumping, by Kelly Rae Roberts, Berkeley, CACanon Digital Rebel XSi

((The fabulous Gwen Bell started The Best of 2009 Challenge through the month of December)) The first prompt is this: What was your best trip in 2009?

This is mine:

My best trip in 2009 was in January. It was a surprise– a gift I had never expected to receive– and I still marvel at the power of it and the depth of its kindness.

It all started back in December 2008 when a package arrives in the mail. It is a matted print, a photograph of me on one side, leaping in the air happily, the word “eternal” stenciled on the building behind me. On the other side of the print is a letter that I notice is from two of my dearest friends… my curiosity is piqued.

Let me back up by saying that I had been in a really dark place for months. Perhaps you know the kind of place I was in? crying nearly every day, down down down, up against my darkest stuff. I describe last year as being slammed into the pavement, feeling worthless and low, wondering if I was even worth being loved. (I know, I know, it sounds dramatic now) I spent endless months collapsed into myself this way, wondering what was wrong with me, if there was any way to fix all the ways I was broken, if I was even worth the work.

These friends were my lifeline. They reminded me of who I really am. They reminded me of my goodness. They sat on the other end of the phone through countless sobbing sessions. They didn’t roll their eyes and wish I would get over it, but let me tell my stories over and over again, until I was all wrung out. They were endlessly patient.

And then the letter came.

They told me how much they cared about me, all the ways I am a good friend to them, all the ways they love me. My eyes were so full of tears I could barely read the last paragraph explaining the airline ticket enclosed. They had arranged for all of us to rendezvous in New York City for a few days, all expenses paid, a little adventure to celebrate our friendship and to show how much they loved me. I was stunned. Matt, who opened it with me, was grinning. Turns out he was in on it too.

Something deep was healed in me that day. I didn’t even need the trip for that, although the trip was truly wonderful. The real gift was the extraordinary kindness of this act of love and friendship. As we strolled through the streets of New York in January, shopping, taking photos, having scandalous girl talk til all hours of the night, my heart was lifted in brand new ways.

My best trip of 2009 was a journey in friendship and a lesson in the healing power of love.

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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.



  1. mccabe

    i love this story!
    and i love that you have
    the kind of friends that
    do the same things for YOU
    that you do for others…

  2. Dare

    How wonderful.
    The dark place of which you speak is well known by me. My friends are always the ones to let the light peek in.
    And if your friends feel like adopting a new bff, I’m available…just sayin.

  3. pixiemama

    Amazing, amazing friends indeed. I love this story and I love the way you so generously share your personal stories in general. Amazing.

  4. Catherine Just

    Andrea, I so know this place. I actually visited it almost the entire day yesterday. And a friend pulled me out of it with a phone call. Somehow just hearing people talk with me who get me makes a big difference. And I LOVE how much your friends love you. I mean it sounds like a movie it’s that perfect. You are one lucky gal.

  5. cjm

    That is awesome. And what a fun idea to recap the good.

  6. bella

    What a beautiful story! I really enjoyed reading this and am so, so, so happy that you have such caring friends.

  7. Jennifer

    beautiful story andrea. you truly are an incredible individual who attracts incredible friends into there life. wishing you the best.

  8. barb jensen

    What a great story! You have wonderful friends; a reflection of yourself (by the way).

  9. EGreene

    That you were able to accept their gift is one of the beautiful parts of your story. Being able to open to and receive what’s given completes the gift.

  10. shari

    i just love this story so much. inspiring, joyful, and full of hope and love.

  11. aqua

    Thankyou for sharing this. A very human and very special superhero, and a very lucky one too!

  12. Michelle Shopped

    oh yeah — you go girl! and you look radiant in that photo…

  13. Christianne

    This was an incredibly powerful story. I got tear-pricks in my eyes toward the end of it, imagining you walking and laughing and staying up late in NYC in the context of what the trip meant to you, what your friends gave to you. Thanks for sharing this.

  14. Mariella

    So Wonderful and you are such a lovely soul!! What a way to begin a new year…the power of sisterhood is quite amazing! xoxo, ~ M.

  15. Jennifer James

    That is an amazing story. It’s wonderful having great friends!

  16. Lisa Lucas Talbot

    Love the story, the gesture, and love that house on Fourth Street in Berkeley that provides the backdrop for your photo… I have a great photo of friend appreciating the “eternal” amidst the weeds there, and it never fails to make me smile.

  17. Kristen

    What lovely friends, how lucky you are!

  18. wholly jeanne

    in a sea of stories about woman’s inhumanity to woman, this is a life raft.

  19. mamie

    it is hard to think of the andrea you just described as the one in that picture, it feels like you really have transformed in the last year into the shining loveliness (that i have always thought you were, even if you did not at the time). what powerful wonderful women you have and are. 🙂

  20. Shelley Noble

    What an awesome gesture from awesomely true friends for an obviously awesome person who needed to know that.

  21. Delisha

    Wonderful story!

  22. Amy --- Just A Titch

    What a great story—may we ALL have such friends.

  23. Ann

    What a great story of friendship!
    On a side note, that house with eternal on the side is kitty-corner from my old office. I miss working in Berkeley so much!

  24. Carrie @ Who Knew?

    Wow. We should all be so lucky to have friends like that.

  25. Emily Perry

    ok, now i am totally crying… what love! here is to a new year full of more love!

  26. Jennifer

    This post shocks me bcz it seems you have do many ppl who love you so deeply and your posts are so amazing.

  27. kolleen

    beautiful story!!! thank you for sharing….those are some amazing girls you have in your life…law of attraction!!! : )
    happy friday to you sweet, sweet Andrea!!!

  28. Jennifer

    Thanks for sharing babe, as always!!

  29. Faith

    Such a beautiful story, like something out of a dream! What great friends you have!

  30. Kristen

    what powerful, awesome friends! you are very blessed!

  31. muck

    thank you for being you. you have no idea how often i feel found when i read your blogs.
    all the best,

  32. claire

    this just made me cry. in a really good way. x

  33. elizabeth

    you are so amazing – that it is no wonder that you attract people into your life who are amazing too. i love that you have people in your life like that. such a wonderful gift.

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