Thursday, July 9, 2015

Flight Day is Happy Day

It feels good to be back in the airport with my carry on luggage, ticket, and passport in hand. It feels especially good to be traveling with my brother Samuel for this summer trip. Everything is a little less stressful with him here (mainly not having to go to the bathroom with all my luggage). But seriously, having a travel companion is really nice. I approve!

We are heading to Seattle, Washington, to visit family and to attend my college friend’s wedding. Seattle has been on my list for a while now – I’ve wanted to see the Needle and take in what I imagine to be the salty air. People seem to really love Seattle; several friends and family friends visit Seattle on a regular basis or have recently travelled there and above to Canada. It sounds like a healthy place to be. I’m excited.

After Seattle (and possibly Victoria, British Colombia), we will take the train to the San Francisco area. All aboard the Coast Starlight Express! Actually just the Coast Starlight, this is a historic Amtrak train that runs along the coast and has observation, diner, and sleeper cars. From the pictures on the Internet, I’m pretty sure the observation car is going to be like the gyrospheres in Jurassic World. I half expect to run into Cowboy Will Smith in the diner car. Alas, there is no magic in the pictures of the sleeper cars, but I’m confident I’ll be asked, “Anything off the trolley, dears?” I’m all about The Train as transportation and adventure.

In the San Francisco area, we are there for the trees, for the trees! Let them grow! The redwood trees… ohhh I can hardly wait. Big trees, weeping trees, and good climbing trees are a childhood phase I have not forgotten. Last year while in Korea, I saw a slice of a great big petrified tree at a museum. Balanced like a penny on its side, I still think about looking up at it and wondering about its size, which was right in front of me. The Golden Gate Bridge, the subject of Ernst Haas’ fascination and large format photographs, will also be a huge joy. It is one of those iconic pieces of architecture. Those get me every time.

Our last stop will be in the Santa Monica area to visit my grandfather and Cheryl. It has been about three years ago that they married, and it has brought a certain positivity to the family. I’m very much looking forward to spending time with them and seeing their lives in sunny California. I’ve experienced a Rose Bowl Santa Monica when the Badgers first, more recently, played, so the agenda is pretty much about spending some time with Grandpa and Cheryl. It’d be cool to do some Hollywood Hills hiking, but the ocean and the sun and the sand is enough and something I need every few years.

It’s been a while since I’ve written or read or created a book and anything else. Work as a Starbucks barista and as an awesome babysitter takes a lot out of me. That was my biggest sadness about teaching last year in Korea; I’m very empathetic and as a result I absorb a lot of mental responsibility and concern that maybe isn’t mine but motivates me to be better. That most often translates to volunteering more - more time, more tasks, and more kids. It gets exhausting, like it did in Korea, when I feel the endless turning of the wheel. There is always more I can do and there often is no one designated to do it.

Slothing with our bullmastiff Lucy

The beauty about my situation is that I have rights and choices, and I work with really great people and families. I can let it go and know that everyone will be all right without me. The perks of singleton, too, let me fully sloth it up once I get home. But time off to travel and see and explore is now permanently on my wheel of life. I’m starting to understand about how to give myself balance with the things I have discovered are important to me.

I have not written a single creative word in months, and I did try. It still took effort to pull out my laptop in the airport and on the plane but the energy was there to write. This is what this summer trip most means to me. I’m free. I’m ready. It’s happy days with family, friends, sailboats, coffee, trains, trees, and ocean water.


  1. Sounds like it'll be an awesome trip :) If I ever make it out west, San Francisco and Seattle are probably the two places I'd try and check off first. Enjoy the deserved time off!

    1. You are so kind! Thank you, T.J. Really enjoying Seattle - the layout and features of the city are cool, so "big city."