I’m sitting in McCarren International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada, getting ready to fly up to Portland, Oregon, to spend the next couple of weeks over the Christmas holidays with my son and his family. Although I dearly love to fly (and yes, I love everything about flying), I haven’t been on an airplane since October, 2007 when I flew to Las Vegas from Portland to watch my dad’s ashes being buried.
I’ve spent the last 5+ years living in a teeny, tiny trailer, dragging it behind my Montero around the left coast of the United States with my dog, Dinah. She and I had many conversations over those years about what my life would be like after her dog job was finished, and consistently, over and over again, our talk turned to things like traveling around the globe with just a backpack, regularly not knowing where the next stop would be, walking for hundreds of miles in Spain, and eating Bún in Vietnam. We talked about the visions of my dreams; she never said much but I know she supported me and my travel dreams.
Dinah retired from her dog job last August and since then, I’ve been preparing for the day when I’d begin flying again. Well, today is it – it’s the beginning of a new phase of my life. Actually, it began August 6th when Dinah took off for the Rainbow Bridge but it’s taken me this long to get a plane ticket to somewhere, anywhere, and I’m sitting here, in this airport, in awe that at 61, life can take such a different course than I ever expected.
Tonight I begin to fulfill my promises to Dinah Dog that I would travel, meet people, and write stories. Her spirit goes with me, of course – how could it not? That crazy, funny, silly girl who loved it when I dressed her up in hats and scarves, grinning from floppy ear to floppy ear – I miss her still but I honor her by moving forward and soon I hope to be posting from unknown locations!
I titled this post “Thoughts…” so here’s some for you:
- Air travel has changed since I last flew – more electrical outlets to charge cell phones and laptops; free wifi; TSA Pre-check means no more taking off jackets or shoes, no ziplocks of liquids, no unpacking the laptop; an iPhone app means no printed boarding pass required
- Travel seems to be more about the traveler than I remember it being; at least, in Las Vegas it does!
- Doing something different at this time of my life is exhilarating!! I’m doing some things now that most people do in their 20s – traveling with all my belongings in a backpack with no agenda, no plans.
- While my friends are doting on their grandchildren, I’m planning on seeing the world! And as a bonus, I get to adopt all their grandchildren as mine whenever I think I need a grandchild fix. I wonder what it’ll be like if I ever have a grandchild for real? I think I’ll probably be the crazy grandma that feeds them sugar and then takes them to Peru with me. Heads up, Mark!
- I wonder if I’ll be able to sleep in a hostel full of young people?
- I wonder what Bún Chay tastes like in Vietnam? (Bún is a Vietnamese noodle dish.) I wonder if it’ll be different in its land of origin. I wonder if I’ll like it as much. I wonder if I’ll find something that I like better.) I’m looking forward to tasting it in Saigon. Click here for a recipe for Bún Chay.
- The Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France, is freezing at night. Uncomfortably cold. I wonder if it’s cold so people aren’t comfortable sleeping there.
- I think somewhere along the way in my life, I decided that I’d always have a house in some town in some state, with a couple of Golden Retrievers, a handful of cats, a parrot or two, a veggie garden, a few flower bushes, and a kitchen with an oven and stove (because I love love love to cook!!!). It’s fascinating to me that I now have none of those things and I’m happier than I’ve been in a very long time.
- I want to look at my familiar surroundings with the eyes of a newcomer, and experience my new surroundings with the eyes of a local. Does that make sense?
- Children are born to young people for a reason.
Okay. That’s enough of my thoughts for now. I’ll leave you with just this last one: Adventure on, my friends! Life is to be lived, experienced, beheld, and loved! Every day that we spend in awe, with serendipity at our backs and enthusiasm in our pockets, is a day without regret, without worry, without negativity hanging over our spirits. Adventure is around every corner and it isn’t necessary to go very far to find it. Discover the treasures in your own backyard!
See you on the road or in the air!