The lure of travel

By Joanne Peterson | Apr 26, 2012

Last week a friend and I spoke of the importance of anticipation. Obviously, we have quite a few decades of anticipation to look back on.

Each of us can remember notable times of looking forward to events happening in the future.

Fortunately, we recall most clearly the happy anticipations, not the negative ones.

I think that’s the way most people are—if they’re fortunate.

Some people never expect the best to happen, no matter what, and that’s a pity.

I think of anticipation as a ripple of excitement, an awareness of adventure or privilege or something great ahead—often something already on the calendar.

Describing the feeling takes me back to high school and the giddy sort of way I floated mindlessly through a week because some boy—the right boy-- asked me to the movies on Friday night.

My friend and I agreed last week that having something great to look forward to several months ahead of time can get a grown-up to soldier through many a gray day, many a downturn in the stock market, many a miserable bout of flu at the end of winter.

For example, last summer when I had a trip to the East coast and a Panama Canal cruise out of Fort Lauderdale to look forward to in the fall, it seemed as if nothing could rock my happy mood.

A list maker by nature, I spent a lot of time listing things to see and do--and what to pack.

Admittedly, every trip I take, I come home understanding that, yes, I should have taken half the clothes and twice the money. (I am pleased to say that on a recent five-day trip to San Francisco, I took my backpack and checked no luggage. I hope Rick Steves does not read this and feel inclined to share that he can travel for three months with only a backpack, so what’s the big deal?)

I wish I could say I am anticipating another cruise. I am not. Financing a cruise seems unlikely.

Still, if I hauled out my VISA card and planned a trip somewhere, it wouldn’t be the first time excitement overcame reality, and I heedlessly invested, buoyed by happy anticipation.

I’ll admit, I’ve never regretted an impulsive impractical decision that led to something wonderful.

Sabotaging future retirement benefits and social security payments, I quit my job years too early in order to go trekking in Nepal.

Oh, the months of anticipation before that magical trip! Priceless. The trip? Life-changing.

A cruise ship to Alaska leaves Seattle late in September, five months from now.

I am imagining a solitary writing retreat sailing the dark Alaskan waters my father loved.

No obligations. No responsibilities. Walking the deck in the rain. Watching eagles. Reading by a window to the sea. Writing without interruption. That’s anticipation—or perhaps it’s pure fantasy. Either way, I like it.


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