Sat next to a lady on a flight recently. It was a cloudy, cool morning. Seemed like it was cloudy in this lady’s world as well. She crossed herself several times as she quietly prayed to herself (so it seemed).
The risks of air travel crossed my mind briefly, and swiftly departed. I’ve been flying all my life; I don’t have any fear of traveling in that manner. Certainly seemed the lady next to me felt quite a bit different.
But you know, she was still taking the flight; so that was something. She was seemingly traveling with the lady sitting next to her.
I hope her nerves calmed as the engines spooled up; I hope her prayers and the rosary she clutched gave her some sense of security. I hope she was at peace.
Not an ordinary road trip today; quite short; about 32 hours, all told.
Friends moving to Vancouver, WA, 574 miles away. Driving their cars north; one extra car left behind.
I and another friend team driving that stray left behind.
Just this week as I’m thinking about the trip. Glad our friend agreed to make the drive, team up with me, hang with me on that long haul. I think I suggested it. He cleared it on the home front. We both cleared it at work.
And then set to roll.
I’ll state the obvious: grateful for that friendship, this sneaky connectedness I’ve felt with this friend now these 20 some years.
Friends longer, neighbors once too.
This current bond forged through life events and trials; thankful we made that extra connection two decades back.
And so we’ll motor along in that black little motor car on this rather short road trip. Looking forward to whatever convo comes among us; looking forward to the open roads; looking forward to a day’s journey, and all that it will be.
In that little black motor car left behind in our care; to transport north in our care; a little road trip to help solve a problem, one extra car; a little fun in one extra car, that little black car, zipping along the highway in that little black car.
I really want to take my kids on a summer adventure. My older daughter suggested Yosemite not too long ago.
Until then I had been thinking camper road trip. When she said Yosemite, the trip drew into better focus.
Yosemite. More than a thousand square miles of mostly wilderness. A blessed place. A protected place. A holy place, really.
I spent maybe ten Mother’s Day weekends in Yosemite; it was our family tradition growing up. I packed in the back-country maybe another half-dozen times when I was older.
I can’t think of a better place to bridge my child / growing-up experiences to my own children.
Usually you need to make plans way in advance, it’s such a popular destination. Covid Times, we’ll see if maybe I can get luck. A reservation is in process. We’ll see. Hopefully soon we’ll know yea or ney.
And so I watched Free Solo, about a climber who free soloed El Captain four years ago. I’m no climber; a minor boulder guy at best.
But watching an hour plus documentary centered in Yosemite? Just the primer.
I love that place. I love those rocks. I hope it works out. Even as one of the more popular outdoor destinations on the planet — and certainly here in the west, it will be peaceful, and change, and outdoor adventure, and exactly what the doctor ordered (as they say — no doctor involved just now on that front).
This trip, this place, much needed. For me as much as my kids. I need it. They need it. WE need it.
Don’t know it? Maybe do, but want to read more. Here.
Zero Dark Thirty, we rolled out. Regardless the hour, the excitement and anticipation were palpable. Over a great highway, southbound. And we chatted and the kids dozed and woke again.
After several hours we arrived. And immediately we set to work, “having fun.” We learned pretty quick from the kids’ reactions to various proposed rides, what their courage levels were, what they wanted to do. We made the most of the mixed bag of excitement and anxiety. Some rides we rode twice because we had the chance.
Lessons too learned along the way. There were some tears, along with the fears, and honest assessment of desires and drivers in our plan. A better plan there could have been, to balance a bit more and spread out the work of having fun. Funny the lessons that come from vacations, outside the box, fresh lessons about life and love and living together. Lesson learned, lesson learned.
In the end we did have fun, didn’t we? Was it the sparkly things or the magical place or the whoop-dee-do ? I hope it was a mix of it all stirred up in the Disney Bowl if so many options and shiny lights and loud sounds and smiling faces and story-book settings.
I hope they had fun. There were tasty treats and sparkly bling and a fuzzy new friend and keys of magic, all came together as we barreled along through three days at the Happiest Place on Earth.
Soon it would be time for shifting minds back to normal during the final long ride; sealing the memories in the pictures and souvenirs and fun we had.
Feeling thankful for the chance for this big adventure, mindful of all it took, grateful for all the planning, the efforts poured into it all for our family to have fun.
Yes, we had fun; “it’s all about the kids”, as the wise saying goes, seen in the back of a vacation shirt on Friday afternoon.
Then in a flash, or maybe a fade? It comes to an end. It’s time for the ride back home, down the long road north, through an autumn Sunday afternoon. As the sun fades in the west, and darkness settles in, as we ease back into normalcy, to the normal of home and the day to day, we think back with a smile.
[NOTE: This excerpt taken from the always AWESOME Seth Godin blog. Full credit to his experience, insight, and great writing. I read his piece, got the underlying message, but also learned something about Narita airport, sushi, and where to get the good stuff.]
“One of the best airport restaurants I’ve ever encountered breaks my first rule of airport eating. The sushi bar at gate 30 of Narita airport is a special place (though I wish they didn’t serve tuna).
The rice is extraordinary.
The nori is crisp.
The service is efficient but friendly.
They have wonderful vegan rolls, flavorful shiso, and yes, it’s hard to believe but true: real wasabi, grated to order.
My guess is that the very best sushi restaurant in your town doesn’t serve real wasabi. But I digress.
When I was there a few months ago, I apologized to the entire staff.
I apologized to them on behalf of every traveler (many, if not most, from my country) that was dredging this extraordinary product in soy sauce, bathing it from top to bottom in the style created to mask the flavor of generations-worth of mediocre, lazily-created sushi.
The Japanese equivalent of putting ketchup on your food in a fine restaurant.”
Lesson: I’ll never saturate another piece of sushi with soy sauce. I promise.