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Cruising Porcupines

Updated: May 31

When I first decided to take stuffed Annie and Julie on my latest adventure, I felt a mix of excitement and trepidation. The plan was to bring them along on a cruise—a journey I had been eagerly anticipating. Despite my enthusiasm, a small voice of doubt lingered in the back of my mind. Would people laugh at a grown adult carrying around stuffed animals? Would I be the subject of ridicule? 

Packing Annie and Julie into my suitcase felt both whimsical and defiant. Annie had been with me through countless road trips, puzzles, and late-night writing sessions. Adding Julie just seemed like the right thing to do. They are more than just stuffed animals; they are companions. As I zipped up my suitcase, I resolved to bring them along, regardless of what others might think. 

Boarding the ship, I could feel the weight of my decision. I found a cozy spot, settled in with a good book and coffee, and placed Annie and Julie beside me. I noticed a few curious glances from fellow passengers, but no one said anything—at least, not at first. 

It wasn’t long before the first conversation started. "Are these your travel buddies?" a woman asked, pointing to Annie and Julie with a smile. I nodded and explained who they were. We ended up chatting about our travels, favorite destinations, and, of course, the porcupines. 

As the days went by, Annie and Julie became the ultimate icebreakers. People of all ages approached me, intrigued by the porcupines. Children would come over, eyes wide with fascination, asking if they could play with them. Each time, we ended up talking about Annie’s stories. 

One evening, one of the activity staff struck up a conversation about her own collection of stuffed animals, which led into a discussion about wanting to write a book and having a sister who illustrated. Throughout the cruise, I realized that my initial fears were unfounded. Annie and Julie weren’t objects of ridicule; they were conversation starters. 

Taking Annie and Julie on my adventure taught me an invaluable lesson about authenticity. It’s easy to worry about what others might think, but often, our passions are what make us relatable and approachable. The people who matter will appreciate you for who you are, quirks and all. 

As the cruise came to an end, I packed Annie and Julie back into my suitcase, grateful for the conversations they sparked. They reminded me that sometimes, the things we worry about most can lead to the most rewarding experiences. 

So here’s to Annie, Julie, and the adventures yet to come. May we always have the courage to be ourselves, and may our quirks continue to pave the way for meaningful connections. 

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