I finally understand what is meant by “life is not about the destination, but the journey.” It almost sounded cliché to me until I began this journey around the globe with eight and 10-year-old boys. Even when the destination is knowingly Disneyland and I am trying to describe all my favorite rides, they are completely focused on taking flight:
- While I am judging how the car we hired to drive us to the airport could possibly cost $100, they are entranced by the neon lights that line the floor of what was, in 1989, the latest and greatest stretch limo.
- While I am rushing to security to make sure we have enough time to unpack all of our liquids, empty our pockets, and remove five pairs of shoes, they are fascinated by the x-ray machine, so much so that the TSA operator gives them little wings and lets them hold the wand for a moment.
- Because I am so good at being really early, we now have two hours to wait at our gate before our flight. My mind is racing with educational activities we could engage in to fill up the time. When I look up, the boys are mesmerized by the planes taking off and landing. They are asking each other questions like, “What do you think makes a soft landing or a bumpy landing? How do they keep the planes from crashing into each other when there are no lines in the sky? Do you think pilots like to travel as much as we do?”
- Finally, we are on the plane. All the adults are requesting and fighting over aisle seats so they have a quick way off and the kids are crawling over each other to the window seats so they don’t miss a moment of the journey!
- I take a huge breath and get snacks and games organized for the flight. I overhear the boys trying to guess who is the lucky person that will get to sit with them in their row. Their enthusiasm wins over even the weary business traveler that has won this special seat in their row. Soon this lucky lady is offering them gum and showing them pictures of her pets as they engage in adult conversation with grace, humor and joy.
- Just when I am thinking of how much coach services have shrunk in recent years, the boys let out a little yelp of joy as the cart is coming, the cart is coming! They put their trays down carefully as to not make “no soda” eye contact with me, and they order ginger ale and peanuts. Because they used their best manners, the flight attendant gives them the can of soda and peanuts and cookies. They truly cannot believe they are being showered with such abundance!
I have arrived. I am forever changed. Entranced, fascinated, mesmerized, momentous, enthusiastically abundant. That is my new definition of travel!