Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Travel

Traveling comes easy to some people. These travel savants seamlessly make all their flights, pack their suitcases perfectly, and are generally ready to go the night before their scheduled travel. I, on the other hand, have yet to master the art of traveling. Take a look at my track record:

A summer long long ago:
I became overly attached to a stick (yes, a wooden stick I found on the ground. It was cool looking, okay?!) I would not leave the campground until we packed the stick in the car. My dad ended up sawing part of it off for me to keep, as the stick was nearly 5 feet in length.

August 2000- Greece
My parents foolishly left me to my own devices to pack. I packed a wolf shirt, mesh Umbro shorts, an umbrella hat and Groucho Marx mustache glasses. 

December 2001- Italy
Bought a massive mask, complete with feathers, in Venice. On the way home, I got some odd questions from customs. I also remember that I was violently ill on the return trip. Someone on British Airlines thought serving salmon in an enclosed area would be a good idea. Fail.

Summer 2004- Maine
My friend Sarah and I got lost in the Maine wilderness for 6 hours, causing my family to totally freak out and form a mini search party for us. They found us wandering aimlessly down the road around 9:00 PM, after we bushwhacked our way out of the woods.

May 2006- DC-Jamaica
Missed flight due to US Airways not having people at their check in counter. Waited in DC for hours, made a flight to NC where we managed to persuade the people at the ticket counter to feel bad for us. Got on a flight to Florida. And did the same thing to get on to a flight to Jamaica.

June 2007- Georgia
I missed my flight by an entire day. Didn't realize this until I arrived at the airport and a TSA agent sarcastically told me I wasn't going to make my flight. I spent $400 on another ticket, which didn't leave for 12 hours. So I spent 12 hours walking around the ATL airport and later spent the night on the floor in the Vegas airport, being serenaded by slot machines.

December 2012- Denver
I checked into my flight the night before I was supposed to leave. Woke up the next morning, thinking I had the whole day to relax. I was casually sipping my tea when it occurred to me that I might want to recheck my flight time. Turns out that my 8:50pm flight was actually an 8:50am flight. I found this out at 7:50am. I hadn't packed, was still in my pajamas and was completely panicked. With the help of Dakota, I managed to get to the airport at 8:20, run to my gate and arrive at 8:40. Like a boss, I made my flight. And narrowly dodged having a massive panic attack. (I managed to pack Christmas presents, running shoes and a flannel shirt.)

My inability to master flawless travel. What does it mean? I have no idea. How does this relate to running? I'm not entirely sure it does. Maybe this is telling me that humans aren't meant to travel further than their bodies will physically take them. Perhaps we should all travel by foot. We would all certainly reduce our impact on the environment and the size of our waist lines. But that's a huge stretch and while I completely fail at traveling, I love it. I enjoy experiencing new places and cultures. Sometimes it is nice to travel so that I can simply miss home.

I think the moral of the story is, well, that there is no moral. It is simply a great affair to travel. Be it by foot over vast distances, by plane, boat or car. We travel to not only see new places, but to tell stories, to rehash what has just happened. Half of the story is where you went, the other half is how you got there.

"I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move."
 -Robert Stevenson