Monday, September 15, 2014

the trip (pt.2): traveling

(two posts in one day!)

As I get older I tell myself that I must try to be more attentive to the details of travel. My mind is less cluttered with the mess of work, I have more time, and, too, a greater understanding that nothing in this world will ever be as perfect as the day that you wake up still moving, still thinking, still capable of smiling. Those are the prerequisites. Nothing else. So maybe I should think about making a day of air travel actually, dare I say it, fun?

First, let me not rush the trip. And let me not tune out during the travel hours.

Because honestly, that's been my modus operandi for many years: tap tap tap the foot until it's time to board, sigh deeply at the first sign of a delay, zone out once in the air, waiting, waiting until we're there already.

But to be, as the cool people would say *present* during the trip requires, for me, a major shift. I have to teach myself to be interested in the fellow passengers, in the details of the boarding, in the simple act of thinking broadly about the flights (rather than plugging in whatever recording device is available and distracting myself with endless movies and mindless TV episodes until gosh darn it, shouldn't it be time to land already?).

Let me tell you to what degree I am successful:

On the short flight to Detroit, I had a very pleasant set of minutes looking hard at each person who came off the plane and then at those who boarded. I imagined for them life stories. I studied their physique and wondered if they walked through the day with aches and pains or with energy and indifference to life's burdens.

During the flight, I read productively as opposed to mindlessly.

But it really helped that the flight was only 45 minutes.

Now comes the biggie: the flight from Detroit to Amsterdam. The challenge here is not to hate the overnight aspect of it. I'm coming on board with a restless night behind me (too many things that I still needed to do and they all rather swim within me when that happens, so that I can't sleep), so the challenge has suddenly doubled.

I remembered my worst overseas flights ever (at least as stands out in my memory): one when I was just twelve and the engines failed and so we made an emergency landing in Canada, and the second just about a year ago when we had to turn back (having gone one third over the ocean already) because a patient had a heart attack and the crew decided to take her back to Canada. In a sense, they were my most interesting flights too and I go back to them in various settings and story telling opportunities. You never hear me recalling the last flight which was absolutely without interesting dimensions (and true to form, I tuned out, like the zombie that I become in those instances).

So maybe I can approach things with an open mind?

I'll let you know tomorrow how it all went. For now, I have to run. We're boarding for Amsterdam.

the trip (pt.1): leaving

It's never fun to leave the people you love and so the day of departure, for me at least, has twinges of nostalgia. (But no melancholy! see previous post.)

It doesn't help that it's gloomy outside. Gray, cool, half drizzly.

These days, it takes me a full 24 hours to prepare for a trip. It's never the clothes packing. That takes half an hour of thought and two minutes of loading. But everything else has to be carefully considered. Which chords, plugs, currencies. What reading material. Any maps? And so on.

And, of course, I spend most of my hours just before leaving on tidying and setting up the farmhouse for Ed-use. Not that he needs it, but it still, there have been times when I did not discard bunches of flowers from the table -- to come back to something that resembled a bouquet of very limp, half rotten stems.

Finally, a glance at the early autumn garden...

farmette-4.jpg the porch that serves us so wall all summer long...


...a breakfast with Ed, in the sun room, though without the sun...


...and I'm off. Glancing at my ticket, I see that I actually purchased a routing via Detroit and Amsterdam, to arrive at my first destination tomorrow, if all plane/train/bus connections work in my favor.

Until then, buona giornata!