Traveling thoughtsJune 11, 2015 in the United States
The summer after my junior year of high school, I was newly 17. And my grandma Grace was turning 80. A big year, a big round square number. Eighty feels as though it has four sides. To celebrate this tremendous birthday, she went with her two daughters, and the two daughters of those daughters, to England and Scotland.
It was my first trip to another country. A few things I remember vividly, and others I remember fuzzily. Soon, I'll be going to where my parents are living (in grandma's old house), and bringing years of boxes out of storage. Within one of those will be my old travel diary. I think of reading it with anticipation, and a hint of preliminary embarrassment. Does anyone love reading first hand the foolish things they thought when they were 17?
Ninteen years have passed. An unbelievable amount of time. And grandma just passed away only last fall. It's almost nearly the same time of year we went before, with some slight adjustments.
Grandma was 80, but I remember her being so spry. One of the sprightliest members of the group of us. I remember my first experience with throngs of asian tourists swarming over the massive stone antiquties in the British Museum; my floridian aunt calling the concierge to ask why there were no screens in her room. I remember the worst bout of food poisoning of my life, after a hamburger at the London Hard Rock Cafe; and emerging from my delerious stupor while looking around Spean Bridge, Scotland.
Often when I visit a place, I think of the things I want to do when I come back. I suppose that trip was my first time thinking that thought. Somtimes I do, in fact, get to return to a place, to do those things I missed, or fulfill some childhood daydream. Even 19 years later. And even perhaps more years than that. It's a very exciting sort of blessing. It's a thought full of hopefulness.Read more