“Chance decides matters better than ourselves.”
Menander 347-291 BCE
I’ve always been fascinated with the notion of “when does the journey begin”?
I recognize that it is self-evident, but doesn’t traveling really begin with that first thought whose origins appear to be vague threads which the mind slowly weaves into a fabric of motion that transcends all the whys?, whens? and other self doubts and leads to the actual act of getting on the plane? In other words, planning the trip is as much a part of traveling as stepping off the train in Venezia. All in all, it is an exceptional delight on a par with the travel experience itself. One of the key differences between a tour and an individual trip is the flexibility, the control of one’s day. Planning helps make that flexibility and control significant.
I suspect that another universal about travel is how Chance drops us in the middle of exceptional and amazing experiences, either terribly frustrating and upsetting or transcendental. However, the mundane preparation for the trip is not bereft of the influences of Chance either. Mostly, however, there are the inescapable necessities that just cannot be left to Chance.
Houseplants, mail, water pipes, automobiles, bill payments, drivers license expiration, tax filing, refrigerator, Spring high water table that fills the house crawl space where the furnace resides, and etc. have a demanding life of their own. They are largely irrelevant if the question is absence of only a week or two. But they expand like a puffer fish if one looks beyond three or four weeks into the realm of the indeterminate. In this instance that indeterminate is a one-way ticket. If I get tired of it I come home. If my rather meagre retirement income can’t withstand the strain of a Euro that is fantastically overpriced ($1.35 U.S. to buy one Euro as this is written!), and if my justifications for depleting long term savings start to ring hollow, I may return in short order. But, it is also possible – Chance, Fate – that I will find enough modicum of contentment to make me stay for an extended period.
So I must plan as well as possible for those myriad and inescapable life responsibilities that seem to be attendant on a 64 year old. Oh my! The extent of planning for concomitant details is amazing. For instance, I have what can be fairly described as a house plant jungle. Due to circumstances of being a Judge in a small town and my own deficits of self, I didn’t feel comfortable asking friends near to hand who might be in a situation to adopt such a demanding brood. But some dear, dear friends outside of Helena (160 miles) agreed to adopt the brood. So, is such a 320 mile, round trip in a pickup filled with plants, highlighted by a low-flying Bald Eagle flaring so that the sun catches it’s gorgeous white feathers, as well as two separate Golden Eagles happily feasting atop road-kill deer, not part of “travels” as much as the train ride from Paris or that first, rainy, cold day of low grade panic in Venezia??
Continued . . .