Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"As I Schlep Traveling"

A five day trip has a certain familiar arc to its story.

In the first few moments of the journey, you start out nervous and fearful, worried you left something behind, and no longer sure that this trip was really the right thing to do. You hope it will all go well, because at least in the beginning, you feel pretty powerless. You’re not even wearing shoes. You put your trust in the uniformed people around you who seem to know what they’re doing.

Then: arrival! The big city! The world! So much to do and you just want to take it all in! The first day or two is filled with energy, with the belief that it really is possible to do anything, absolutely anything. There is excitement, there is optimism, there is very little sleep.

Next, you start to prioritize. What do you really want to do? You map out a path. You realize that while there’s plenty you would like to do, there are some things that really are more important than others. And then, of course, plenty of unexpected delights and frustrations that also fill those middle days.

(Little Pixie Magic Photography)
Suddenly you realize: time is running out! A desperation returns, whereupon you just can’t seem to get enough done in the twilight of the trip. You want to cram everything in: as much as possible, as quickly as possible. You want to try to squeeze in one more show, create one more memory, eat one more fantastic meal.

But then, reality sets in. You’re saying your goodbyes. You’re thinking about what you can take with you and what you’ll just leave behind. You’re figuring out, as best you can, the path back to where you came from, and you’re asking yourself, am I making this as easy as possible for everyone around me?

And now, at the end of the trip, sitting in the back of a cab flying towards the airport at approximately the speed of sounds, I have several reasons to pray. Once I’ve finished the quick prayer (the one about the cabbie having a lovely family he plans to return home to tonight, rather than a death wish and the urge to go out in a blaze of glory), I settle into the longer one. The grateful one.

I realize that I have reached that zen point of the trip, where I am no longer rushing around trying to check a few more things off-the to-do list. Instead, I am calm. I have accepted that this trip is over. I am glad for the experience I had, and at peace with what we could not fit in this time around. I took a few snapshots and jotted down some words that will hopefully keep the memorable moments of this trip alive and shareable for years to come.

See, if all goes well, you've enjoyed the journey - but you're ready to go home.

Hallelujah, I’m a-comin’ home.


  1. Lovely Zen moment reflection on past present future.

    I am pretty sure that not everyone has that moment asking "am I making this as easy as possible for everyone around me?" of themselves.

    *I* usually have it, mind you, but I am pretty damn sure that a number of my travel companions have never had such a thought.

  2. But if we only had ONE more night, I'm certain we could have gotten those Book of Mormon tickets...;)