Tomorrow I am going to embark on my annual trip of healing. After a three and a half month tax season, I need a week of being whisked away to somewhere tropic and far enough off the grid to allow me to be completely distracted. I know where I will be for the next 9 days, my time of arrival and departure. I even know the airlines and my seat assignment. I owe this information to my planner of 39 years. Fortunately, I have no idea what I will be doing each day. That has been left to the moment and the mood and there in lies the adventure.
Life is a journey. That, I admit, is a very overworked clique. A journey is a trip, planned in advance, outfitted properly, and laid out in detail. When our family travels, if my wife has anything to say about it, we are given the details far in advance. She is after all a planner. Her bags are already packed for this trip, heck they were packed a week ago. The plane tickets are printed, and a folder, already inches thick, sits prominently on the counter with all the possible reservations neatly organized. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate this trait, though I probably don’t tell her often enough. With any luck, she will hopefully read this blog and give me at least a few points for the credit bank. But back to my point. If we didn’t have her there to do this, God only knows where we would wind up if we even wound up anywhere. You see, when I travel, I need to be kept on a short leash. The best part of travel is not the flight, it is the airport with an unbelievable amount of sights, sounds and attractions to distract even the most disciplined wanderer. To better understand that aspect of my character, read “Adventures in Grocery Shopping”. Did I mention that my bags won’t pack themselves until Monday about 5:00 AM. Plenty of time for our 7:30 departure from the tarmac.
So let’s talk about adventure. My children learned long ago that when traveling with dad, sans mom, the trip is no longer a journey but has evolved into an adventure. We will get the motel when we get there and it will be three star at best. We have discovered that the rating system represents the following conclusion learned over multiple three star experiences. One star is given if the room has a window. The second star is earned if the window opens or at least has a screen if you do open it. The third star is earned for the presence of a TV, no flat screen, maybe cable, if lucky, actually working. We will treat the motel as a place to sleep between the rest of the adventure. Nothing will be planned out, reservations are for the weak at heart and pre-planning would just dampen the heightened state of anxiety. My children have coined a mantra that makes their mother cringe. “They have stores where we are going, don’t they?” This last belief allows us to pack minutes before we leave in a backpack that couldn’t possible hold all the items we will need. We will stop to resupply multiple times. But all of this is the nature of adventure. Its the impulsiveness that adds to the memories.
My wife has learned, okay conceded, that our travels need to be a combination of journey and adventure. This is why, once we arrive at our tropical destination this week, the plans will cease for the next few days while the adventure takes over. “Have faith”, I tell her, “we haven’t lost anyone yet”.
Life is a journey, and should be approached as such. Great goals need good planning and enough discipline to stay the course. But, lest you have missed the point, life is also an adventure, or at least can be. Around every bend, around every corner, in every decision lies a bit of the unknown. Follow your plan but don’t avoid the scenic route. Let the journey find its course and enjoy the adventure along your way. Life is good when properly seasoned with adventure.