When Kermit sang “Getting there is half the fun,” he was not singing about traveling by plane. At least, it sure isn’t fun for me.
In March, my husband and I took a trip of a lifetime to the Holy Land, specifically Israel and Jordan.
I must confess I went reluctantly. The 12-hour flight over the Atlantic was one of the main reasons. Add traveling to the Middle East in the midst of a controversial new American president too.
Our trip over and back consisted of four legs, which is two too many. The itinerary called for us to travel by car to Chattanooga, shuttle bus to Atlanta, flight to Turkey and another flight to Israel.
Because of our excitement, we left uncharacteristically early, which later benefitted us. While driving down the interstate, the car quit. Kapoot. Engine died. No power. Bryan steered us off as we coasted to the shoulder and we both sat silent.
My natural tendency is to panic in these situations. While he was in shock, I was literally biting my lip so I wouldn’t say what I was thinking. I kept my mouth shut, but my mind was screaming:
“What are we going to do? We are going to miss our shuttle bus! How are we going to get out of here? Who can we call? How much is this going to cost? This car isn’t even paid for! Will the group leave without us? All that money down the drain!”
Meanwhile, Bryan went into problem-solving mode. He made a few calls and within a matter of minutes his mom was on her way to drive us and a tow-truck had been called.
The tow truck arrived before my mother-in-law, so the driver stayed with us while dozens of cars and semi-trucks roared by us and our luggage. I stood stoically by the interstate and forced myself to smile. Literally. Surely I could find something good and be thankful for it?
It wasn’t raining. There, that’s something to be thankful for.
When she finally rolled toward us, we thanked the tow truck driver, threw our luggage into the car and Bryan hopped in the driver’s seat. We were off (again)!
This was a race against time because the shuttle bus was scheduled to leave at 4 p.m. We arrived fifteen minutes later to a group that wasn’t too happy with us. I felt embarrassed and extremely sorry.
One might think that was the most stressful part of the trip. Not so. As my blood pressure and heart rate both finally slowed on the way to Atlanta, I found more things to be anxious about.
Long lines to check our bags greeted us. Then the TSA security line, also lengthy. Several of our group were singled out to have their individual carry-on bags inspected piece by piece. Bryan was one of them. Once again I stood by silently (unusual for me) and acted nervously like they were going to find our secret toothpaste and arrest us. What was wrong with me? He had nothing illegal on him. This was anxiety kicking into overdrive.
Flying is an exercise in hurry up and wait. Now that we were all checked in, we had nothing but time. Idle time coupled with anxiety is like water on a flower. It just grows and grows.
The flight to Turkey was uneventful but uncomfortable. While most of the passengers slept, I tossed, turned, twisted and tilted my body trying to get comfortable. Nothing helped. By the time breakfast was served I had started feeling nauseous. Beads of sweat popped out on my forehead. Trying to be thankful again, I wondered, “What was good about this flight?”
The food was not bad. That’s something.
We were served two meals – dinner (at about 10 p.m.) and breakfast 7 hours later. Dinner was mascarpone spinach pasta with mushroom, smoked salmon with fresh salad, some kind of quinoa/hummus mix, a roll and some type of dessert. I ate it all.
When we arrived in Istanbul, Turkey, we went through another level of security. We waited. I watched as everyone else got a thorough patting down. This was to be the new normal. It made me anxious, especially when I saw armed guards. What could I be thankful for as I waited for the next flight?
The opportunity to travel. The ability to travel. The time to travel. I was thankful. Mostly, I was thankful I was not on a plane. So even though “getting there” was not half the fun, it was fun having the opportunity, ability and time to travel. I am thankful.
What do you enjoy about traveling?