The Zen of Traveling
I’ve done a lot of traveling this year…well, for me a lot of traveling. I went to Chicago for the Chicago North Romance Writers Conference—a blast, by the way! Then I went west to stay with Grandboy while his parents went even further west for a business/pleasure trip. I was home for about twenty-four hours before heading to Albany, New York to attend a family wedding and then on to visit friends near Syracuse. Had a great time on all those trips, but I’m rather glad that for a while, most of the traveling I’m doing is back and forth between home and the lake.
Husband and I have traveled more since Son moved away than we ever traveled before in our marriage. Confession? Until the first time we went out to visit Son and D.I.L., we had never flown together. Crazy in this very small world today, but it’s true. In the ensuing years, we’ve become what could be considered “seasoned travelers.” We’ve been through all kinds of travel mishaps—delayed flights, bad weather, cancelled flights, overcrowded airports, crazy seatmates, kids crying for an entire flight, crabby flight attendants—you get the picture.
My kids are traveling today–on their way here to spend a couple of weeks with parents/grandparents. It’s not going well. They’ve already been delayed three times and are currently looking at arriving almost five hours later than originally scheduled. But you know, one of the things I’ve discovered about traveling is this: Find your Zen place and get comfy there. By “Zen” I mean relax and be in the moment and do not, I repeat, do not, get stressed by events of the day. It just doesn’t pay to be upset and angry because you truly are in a situation over which you have no control. Stay cool. Take a book or your Kindle Fire or your iPad, so you can entertain yourself at the gate by reading or watching a movie or or playing electronic Scrabble with your travel mate or just messing around on the Internet.
People-watching at an airport can’t be beat because there are always so many different kinds of people in an airport. Become a people-watcher. Husband and I love to make up stories for the people in the airport with us. For instance, the couple clearly not speaking to one another is on their honeymoon, but he got drunk at the wedding and tossed his cookies in the punch bowl. Not an auspicious beginning to the marriage, dude. Or that guy over there in the sunglasses and fedora? He’s a Russian spy… probably following the tall, cool blonde who’s been on the phone since she sat down. She works for the government and she knows he’s following her. She’s informing her partner, who’s ordering coffee at the Starbucks behind us.
Airports almost always have at least one interesting restaurant or bar. Go wander around, find the fun place that serves food you’ve never tried before, order a glass of wine or a beer—relax, chat with your travel partner. Who knows? You may learn something about them that you never knew before. Look through the airport shops—they have some pretty amazing stuff in those stores. Delayed flights can be an adventure if you stay calm.
When you fly, assume that the day is meant for traveling—that that’s how you’re going to spend the next twenty-four hours. Hopefully, all will go well and you’ll arrive at your destination on time and without incident and with all your luggage. But if you don’t, find the fun, find the adventure… find your Zen place… and settle in.
I feel this way, too–other than the several times I’ve spent the whole miserable day in O’Hare–but am not sure I’d feel so relaxed if I was traveling with a two-year-old. Cam looks so cute in the picture.
Have a great time!