It’s been awhile….

…but sometimes it’s better to let some space settle in between thoughts!  Like a couple of years of space!

No matter, no one reads this blog, anyway!

What I’ve been thinking about lately is how the world has changed since I was young and cute.  I lived an amazing, adventurous life, traveling throughout the Caribbean, eastern Mexico, all over Europe and parts of the Middle East.  I lived in southern France, central Italy and Slovenija for years at a time.  I sang for my supper, harvested olives and chestnuts, milked sheep, delivered sailboats, traveled as an assistant to the Liaison for Western Affairs for a friendly Middle Eastern country, wrote for an Eastern bloc newspaper…mostly things I either couldn’t or wouldn’t do today.

Because the world is a much more dangerous place today. I simply couldn’t travel with the kind of freedom I had 45 years ago.  I wouldn’t go near the Middle East, for example.  I couldn’t be the kind of “illegal alien” I was able to be either, in Monaco, Italy or Croatia.  When I lived in Monaco, it was a little principality of 30,000 people.  I could be categorized as a “domestic,” so that I could rent a tiny bedsitter, and have the liberty to sing in a fancy private club, all because the owner knew the right people, having started out as an aristocratic refugee himself.  I knew everyone.  It was a little town with a lot of big names.  I played backgammon with F1 drivers and rock stars.  I got into snooty Regine’s because I arrived in a Silver Cloud Rolls with a Swedish tennis star and his soon to be second wife.  Eating breakfast at 4 am in the all night “diner” with a Russian prince, an American arms dealer, and the chief of police probably wouldn’t happen at all these days.

So you see what I mean.  It’s just different.  I sincerely doubt that the current F1 drivers who live in Monaco (for tax purposes – there is none), go anywhere without an entourage.  Regine’s and Regine herself are long gone.  Absolutely anyone can be a “VIP” if they have enough money, now.  The VIP section of a club is just a gauge of who’s willing to spend $10K for nothing so that they can look important.

When I worked for the diplomat, I met a slew of people who really were important, but didn’t want anyone to know.  I once helped set up a meeting in Geneva in which everyone involved had assumed names.  There was a great deal of protocol involved in getting the various people into the meeting room at the right time.  I didn’t know who any of them were, or what was being discussed.  Even my boss was only an intermediary.  Several years later, on the  BBC in London, I recognized several of the players and realized that we had set up a secret meeting involving the independence of an African nation.  Can you imagine pulling that off today?  With our 24/7 news cycle and the incessant pursuit of “insider info,” I doubt any of the players could have even shown up at the same time in a 4 star hotel without someone putting it all together, phoney names or not.

But even just traveling the planet as a single woman alone is much more troublesome now.  I never worried in Europe.  I was a tough American girl.  I had been a tomboy all my life, and a surfer and a sailor.  I was physically strong and I was savvy.  But none of that would count now.  Europe then wasn’t filled with angry young men.  The London I knew was multicultural, but it was largely populated with the remnants of British colonialism, Indians, Jamaicans, some North Africans, rich Arabs – not unassimilated Islamic refugees.  And, while there was some danger from the random acts of violence by the IRA, there were only about 100 active IRA terrorists, and they were not at all inclined to kill THEMSELVES.  This new crew has no respect for human lives, including their own, and that’s a dangerous thing.

Look at what happened in the Greek Isles this week: a group of Serbian thugs beat a young black American man to death outside a bar, because they didn’t like something he said.  Even in the old days, I would have avoided what is now Serbia, Montenagro and Albania — the wild west of the Balkans — but I wouldn’t expect Serbian thugs in a little island in the Cyclades.

It’s just not the same world that I had so much fun in forty-plus years ago.  My stepdaughter is a pretty young woman who knows some of my adventures and she said recently, “I wish we could have been buddies when you were young and wild.”  I laughed, of course, and told her I didn’t think I could be “young and wild” like that in today’s world.  But yes, we would have had some fun.

About Carol Joy Shannon

A former sailor of the seven seas, living in my beloved Lowcountry, between the blackwater swamps and the saltmarshes, surrounded by pre-revolutionary history.....thinking about current events....painting dinosaurs and other whimsical animals for children, with the occasional abstract or new cityscape for my delightful collectors. The best thing about being a seasoned old salt is sitting down not running around, so...
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6 Responses to It’s been awhile….

  1. Brenda Wilson-Carver says:

    I read this ☺and, having known you before, and somewhat in the middle of this era, I can see you in all of this recount of an extraordinary time for the entire “civilized” world. You truly are a Renaissance woman. I, like your stepdaughter, would love to have joined you on the part of these adventures that I missed. However, I will forever cherish those we did share, though simple by comparison. As it turns out, we have a very different view of current affairs. Nevertheless, these things, I have found, have nothing to do with true soul connections. They are merely annoying nats with a distraction agenda. I always loved you, your spirit, strength. Btw you are still cute❤

  2. CJS says:

    How sweet of you, Brenda. I don’t know how I missed a 3 year old comment. But I agree with you about the soul connection. I was just telling John this morning about our hilarious attempt at reading road signs in Greece. XOXO

    • Brenda Wilson-Carver says:

      Hey there, dear Carol. I am not the Brenda that was in Greece with you but I am the Brenda that worked with you in a leather shop in Gainesville, Florida and again on a cruise ship called the Bolero. We did runs between Portland, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia–everyday… My name has, unfortunately, changed a few times during then and now. I have taken back my maiden name somewhat, though you never knew me by that name, with a hyphen. Anyway, I always read your emails/blogs and I always remain your friend. Our course in life has crossed enough times and in great harmony that we will always be friends if not lovers. My best to you always, my dear Carol. Time is taking advantage of us from here on in so I want to be sure you know how much I have carried you in my heart and mind all these decades. God bless you and yours. xoxo

  3. Brenda Wilson-Carver says:

    Also, the response you said you missed for 3 years was from me as well. I met with you briefly in Jacksonville, Florida at a Paneras and then again near your studio in 2014. Hope all of this rings a bell, xo.

    • CJS says:

      OMG, so sorry Brenda. You area both important women in my life and you both have hyphenated names and I am old! Hugs and kisses, hon, no matter which side of politics we’re on.

      • Brenda Wilson-Carver says:

        Ha ha, yes, we are both old but still shaking up the world as best we can, regardless of political points of view. I take no sides in general as I learned a long time ago to understand there is no one way to run the country or the world. If there was someone would have managed to do so in a better and all inclusive way. One thing is for sure, I won’t let old, rich people decide my family or friends. Love you!

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