October 29, 2022
Yesterday marked the end of Melissa’s and my “time on the continent”, and we prepared for another long travel day. This began as the 4 of us caught an early shuttle for the airport in Paris. The driver dropped us off at the terminal, but nowhere either of our 2 groups had to check in. Since we were on our way home, Melissa and I opted to check our carryon bags thinking it would be less hassle. While we waited for an assist to the gate, my sister approached. Their airline had canceled their flight and it would be 6 hours before they could catch another. We sat talking waiting for our assist as the time for boarding drew near. When he finally arrived, we said our goodbyes and headed for the gates. It seemed the more I took off at security the more they wanted me to remove. Then we were through the checks on off to the gate, arriving just prior to boarding. It was a good thing we had allotted 4 hours to get on the plane.
The 7 hour flight to Europe looked like a breeze when we boarded for the 10 hour return flight. As we settled in on the plane, I recall thinking at least we were on board. Somehow the return seemed shorter (2 hours longer). Perhaps it was the cows to the barn syndrome, as milk cows always move toward the barn for milking faster than out of the barn toward the field (grain waits inside). We only had a 1½ hour turnaround in Dallas and needed to get through customs and to change terminals. It was a good thing we had opted for the assist, or we would have never made it. Even the assist required 4 transfers to get to the gate. Again, we arrived just prior to the scheduled boarding. The short hop to Northwest Arkansas marked the end of our flight, but still left another 2 hours of driving. We picked up Zena from our friends on the way home and slid into the driveway after a mere 20 hours of travel. We were exhausted, but I was happy to finally be able to watch the news.
I have been commenting on our travel itinerary over the last 3 weeks. The highlight of the trip was the opportunity to bring together 5 different pairs (10 people) of our extended family for the Rhine Cruise. I previously commented on the 3 celebrations that marked 2022, my sister and brother-in-law’s 50th wedding anniversary, Melissa’s 60th birthday, and my brother’s 70th birthday. That was coupled with my sister’s birthday (no number) just as our events ended. While that may not have been the intent for the trip, it did become a good focus. The cruise brought family from different areas of North America. 1 pair came from eastern Canada, 2 from New England, and 2 from the lower Midwest. The cruise was augmented by 1 pair’s pre-cruise extension, 3 pair’s post-cruise extensions, and then 5 days in Paris for 2 pairs. As we prepared to separate and make our ways home, the 10 of us (then later 4) took time to reflect on our favorite memories as well as our time together. We all agreed we had played the numbers and won.
THOUGHTS: I find travel and the memories it creates add adventure to life. I had forgotten how much joy this brought during my last trip overseas 40 years ago and vowed it would not be another 40 years again. Much has changed since that time, but the apprehension (and excitement) of the unknown that waits remained the same. I have found the extent of travel is not as important as filling the days with others. These can be family or new friends encountered on the journey. Life really is a game of numbers: 52 weeks a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 60 minutes an hour, 60 seconds a minute. We need to spend as many of those 31,449,600 seconds enjoying the wonders of the world, whether near and far. Act for all. Change is coming and it starts with you.