The idea for this blog post began as a cute story about a walking stick. A Meadowood walking stick, to be exact.
Perhaps you have one? They were given out on several tours, and as gifts from the marketing department for other occasions. I have one standing in the corner of my office.
The sticks get around. And recently, one traveled all the way to Europe, accompanying a Meadowood couple named Laurene and Michael. The cute part of the story is that Michael, who had been having a little foot trouble lately, impulsively grabbed the stick from the umbrella stand on his way out the door for their vacation to Italy.
The stick was, of course, treated as a potential weapon aboard flights and at tourist locales until Michael explained that it was a “bastone.” A cane.
Michael says the Meadowood bastone really helped him on the uneven cobblestone streets and hills of the old country, and it proved to be a great decision to bring it along. But I wondered, did he and Laurene bring more of Meadowood than a stick with them to Italy? And what did they bring back with them to our community?
“The physical preparation, the physical fitness, is such an important part of travel,” Laurene says. “The yoga classes, the strength training, and the endurance from spinning class have helped keep us fit and able to travel the way we want to.”
Michael agrees. “The wellness program at Meadowood is A++. We are physically fit when we go and motivated to continue with it when we get back, so we can do it again.”
Both of them are frequently on the go here, taking advantage of all the wellness offerings on campus including classes, the cardio and weight rooms, and the pools.
“Getting away is great,” says Laurene, “but I find myself missing my daily routine.”
Laurene says she has learned a lot about traveling from the residents here, who have collectively been to almost every corner of the world. She says she is creating a bucket list of places to go by asking, “What was your favorite trip?”
Laurene and Mike, who celebrated their 9-year anniversary as Meadowood residents, moved in as caretakers to Michael’s father, who sadly passed away last July. And although they are among the youngest residents of Meadowood, they say they feel right at home here, although they do spend the winter in Orange Beach, Alabama.
“Traveling reaffirms this is a good place for us,” Michael says. “We have good friends and neighbors. We have the peace of mind that people are caring for our home and our mail when we’re gone. We come back to a beautifully cleaned home.”
“Although we kind of live like nomads,” Laurene confirms, “Meadowood is a good anchor.” They say they always feel welcomed by residents and staff alike when they return.
That may be because they are always ready and willing to lend their support or a helping hand to others and enjoy giving back to their fellow Meadowood residents. They make a point to keep in touch when they’re away.
“We feel a deep connection to the community, even when we’re traveling,” Laurene says. “This is home.”
It’s wellness, too.
P.S. Laurene and Mike are heading off on safari in the fall. The “bastone” is going, too—a little piece of Meadowood in the great wide world.