Travel Traditions

I have always enjoyed travel. When I was a child, one still dressed up to ride in an airplane. It was a very special event that most folks didn’t do regularly. I traveled more than many kids, as my father was in the military and we we’re re-stationed pretty much yearly until I was eight years old. My mother was always the one who had to handle the transition. My father would have to go to our new station city early to be processed into the new position and to procure housing (we never lived in “base housing”. This probably accounts for my dislike of shared domiciles). Mom had to get the household ready to move. And the child. Mom used to bring out her globe (a gift she received as a schoolgirl for her performance in classes) and she would point to where we were and then trace her finger along to where we were going: New Hampshire, Bermuda, California, etc. Today, when I travel, I always make sure to get a map and plot out my routes and stops for Mom to see and keep on hand. We still have her globe, though it is woefully out of date. Before I left for the Czech Republic, we looked at the old globe and it, of course, did not reflect the country as it exists today. But tracing her finger across the round surface from Florida to Europe brought us together in that tradition once again, though now I am the one preparing Mom for travel, and usually my travel alone. Because of my mother’s efforts to make me confident to travel, I have been able to enjoy many learning experiences abroad and to have enriching experiences when away from home for shows. And I will always trace my finger across an old globe for luck. It can stay with me long enough to get me through the mess that is travel today. Going to Prague, my flights out were cancelled twice and I finally arrived 24 hours late to Vaclav Havel airport. On the way home, those “easy-to-use” apps from my airline and travel companies were inoperable, leading to my not being able to check in before reaching the airport (which makes me nervous). At each leg of my flight, I had to re-check in, which, added to the fun of customs at JFK airport in NYC, a second security clearance and running for gates. I am grateful to have made it home with no major meltdowns on my part or on the airlines’ part, and to have been met at Tampa International by my best friend of 42 years and taken home. Home! No place like it, truly. I have a lot of travel in store this year and I will take great comfort in pulling out the old globe and tracing my mother’s finger across its surface to give her context. But I will also buy her a map. Thankfully, all the travel is domestic and no airports are involved. I always enjoy my travel by car from Florida to New York, where I go each season to work with a theatre company outside of Hudson, NY. I think I will appreciate that journey even more this year.

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