I’m traveling today. The entire preparation to go leads me to the final step onto the plane or into my car or even onto a path for a hike. Traveling is a state of mind. Some people have the travel bug and are always planning their next trip, while others love to hear of a friend’s travels or read a book about a distant location or even follow someone when they are on a long road trip.
Our mother had many opportunities to travel and she always had the travel bug, though as she was older, rarely chose to take long trips. She worked for her sorority in 1945, Chi Omega, and traveled across the US to meet and advise chapters at many universities. It was unique in 1945 when she was putting herself through her Masters Degree at Columbia University. She always owned the latest global almanac which sat by her favorite chair with her knitting or needlework, and she followed all relatives who were traveling anywhere in the world. Let’s call her a sometimes chair traveler as she certainly knew details of a location and often suggested different museums or artists to visit, or music to hear or ballets to see.
On the other hand, Daddy seemed to have a suitcase packed on the ready. He traveled often for his work and then he loved traveling abroad. Perhaps it was a different sort of travel bug he caught during World War II. He was in the Navy on a ship in the Pacific in 1943 and ended the war on the same ship in the Atlantic. He was always on supply ships which were sought targets for submarines.
My travels today take me to Italy to a Tomatis Conference, my first Europe trip since before Covid. I am excited to be abroad and change my daily vistas.
How do you approach your travels? My adrenaline starts up and each trip is a unique project. It is similar to my driving in traffic. Most of my travels are for fun, to visit family, see friends, see a new part of our world. And some of them carry sadness. All of them require some planning so a trip runs smoothly.
Since Covid swept our world, travels of all sorts are more challenging. A road trip requires we know there are hotels available en route, that there are restaurants for food, and that both of those have staff enough to assist us on our way. The airlines have fewer staff when more people want to travel. Traveling by air requires a good meditation and a Zen approach to waiting. You might find a surprise delay of hours in your home airport. I have decided that the journey is a big part of my travels. Do you prepare for extra free time when you can do something you rarely do at home? Books are my friends. And I treat myself to a science or history magazine on a trip – something I look forward to reading. I am new to the Kindle but it lightens my load and seems easier to use than heavy books. We’ll see.
Traveling is a privilege. When I lived across the Country or in another country from my family, I always knew I could drive home if necessary. It was my safety net. Even driving across the Country today is a privilege. You have to know weather patterns, road closures, and if you can safely arrive each day where you are going.
When I decided to move from Arizona, my home of 34 years, back to South Carolina where my extended family live, I thought it would be a big adventure to drive across the US. My good friend, Mary Holden, and I embarked on a 7300 mile drive in a large loop up the West coast of CA into the Northwest, across the northern US and into Canada where my daughter lived at the time. It was an amazing trip, good stories for another time. However, a deeply moving experience was standing with Becky and Doug Pruitt on a large flat rock abutting Lake Superior North of Duluth, and Becky leading us in a Native American song to Mother Earth, “O Great Spirit.” Oh, Great Spirit, Earth, Wind, Fire and Sea. You are inside, and all around me.” We sang as one voice, then in rounds, and again as one voice. We brought Arizona to Minnesota and with our friends, we thanked Nature for her hand in our travels, for seeing us safely to our destinations. The breeze blew through us and we were moved by this vast ocean-like lake. Goodness! It was a huge experience.