Departure gates

Does anyone sleep well, the night before a trip? Even after a few of them, not me. Then startle awake with the thought of “okay, the day is here.” Those other ones were still night, but this time the alarm has certified it’s here. The day that was just a click on an airline website some weeks ago, a date cited when people asked, a number that was theoretical right up until you woke to find it all around you, impatient to happen. Unwilling to wait. Impossible to back up.

So now I’m at the airport. My lady love’s flight just boarded, flying somewhere else, the back home I will see again, but not where my pilot is pointed. Then I took the long walk down the corridor from domestic to international, the way I so very want to take, am deeply glad for, but that doesn’t erase the ripping sadness of goodbyes. Those don’t get easier either.


But I know that soon the other feelings will rise in me. The topped up battery of travel enthusiasm. The curiosity of what it’s going to be like. The hotel I picked because it has an airport transfer doesn’t appear to actually have it, so I will be flung to the taxista hyenas a little before midnight tomorrow night, on the other side of the world, eleven time zones away.

This first flight, the one coming close, will take me from Oregon to Amsterdam. Flying to Holland is a familiar and well loved route, but this time when I arrive grainy eyed and surreal with past-sleepiness, I’ll be a bit short of halfway. Three hours layover, desperately soaking up every Dutch word I can hear, then I’ll board again.

Nairobi. Kenya. They’re known words that are about to gain remembered images and memories. I’ll be in Kenya just under three weeks and have only a sketch of a plan. My first couple nights are booked, then I’m going to go looking for the Call to Prayer, the Indian Ocean, the blend of cultures and centuries, to let fade the preconceptions and stereotypes in favor of my own experiences.

Travel is a privilege, travel is a gift, one of the greater of both, and I enjoy sharing it here. If there’s internet and time and electricity, I’ll do that. Or maybe I’ll meet you out here somewhere. Whatever roads you’re following, happy 2019 and happy travels!