Daily Archives: August 24, 2012

Where is Your ‘Palace’?

What is the best way to travel?

There is the “I’m going to backpack through Europe to ‘find’ myself,” the “We’re doing the all-inclusive Gold Package,” the “Danny Tanner Clipboard of Fun” and the “We’re gonna hop on a couple trains, wander the streets and just kinda see what happens.” When exploring strange lands and new horizons, these tend to be, to some degree or another, the general itineraries for traveling right. And ‘right’ is the key word here. If things turn out wrong, then something horrible has happened: a vacation becomes real life. The party’s over and we are awakened from our dream with a bone chillingly cold splash of reality. Nobody wants to be cold, wet and upset.

When preparing to travel, most of us have the best intentions. We think ahead to what we need to find, wash and bring to ensure constant happiness for our departure from ‘the real world.’

Favorite shirts? Check
Comfortable shoes? Check
Nice clothes for dinner? Check
Shorts and swimsuit? Check
Jeans? Check
Music & Headphones? Check 
Underwear? Check. Wait…Yes, Check
Little boxes of cereal that are life savers in the form of an edible snack? Check

The constants are all accounted for, except for your passport that was left on the kitchen counter specifically placed next to everything else you packed and brought. Of course you remember this as the car is a good ten minutes from home for the flight that leaves in precisely sixty-seven minutes in rush hour traffic…at the airport that is twenty five minutes away in ideal circumstances. Time to take a deep breath. Inevitably we are forced back home because the passport is absolutely necessary to getting through security. Did I remember my ticket? After a ‘gentle’ shuffling and an eventual parting of the car, backpack & pockets Red Sea style, the ticket is safe in our now relieved hand. A car ride to the airport just became “The Amazing Race.” Otherwise, everything is a go for a rejuvenating vacation. Ahhh.

We all know we’re not a veteran traveler without this happening in one way or another. It’s a rite of passage and as Steve Miller said, “You know you got to go through Hell before you get to Heaven.”

The flight is next. This experience has undoubtedly changed since its ‘glory days’ of Pan Am and its patrons donning formal attire and sipping on drinks from the top shelf. Let’s face it, when on airplanes, aren’t we thinking about being just about anywhere else besides being on the plane? Without drowning this piece with the ever-evolving depressions of flying these days (uber casualness, lack of personal space, manners, etc.), let’s just pretend together that it is like a word for word recreation of a soothing experience courtesy of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself. Ladies and gentlemen, “Come Fly with Me.”

“Once I get you up there where the air is rarified
We’ll just glide, starry-eyed
Once I get you up there I’ll be holding you so near
You may hear all the angels cheer ’cause we’re together”

While gazing out at the bright lights of a lively city, excitement in the anticipation of landing builds. There is a universal feeling of wide-eyed wonderment that lifts our spirit. In preparation of arrival, the GPS is pre-programmed in our phones and navigational devices to ensure we won’t stray from the quickest and surest route. On vacation though, isn’t getting lost part of the journey? Strolling off the beaten path for an adventure is partly why we crave getaways. Our environment changes and as a result, shouldn’t we?

Whether romantically strolling the Champs-Elysées of Paris in the glow of street lights…navigating down a Gothic-inspired alleyway in Prague…skiing the freshly snow covered Swiss Alps overlooking a cozy village worthy of being encased in a Christmas snow globe…scuba diving off the northeastern coast of Australia in the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef and gazing at underwater kingdoms…struggling through a bumpy camel ride in the Egyptian desert sun to marvel at one of the true ‘wonders of the world,’ then crawling through the dark tunnels and passageways of The Great Pyramid, all in an effort to travel back to the age of mummies, pharaohs and hidden treasure…stepping the big steps of a ‘Great Wall’ that is visible from space in the cold December air…exploring and sleeping in a hotel located in the middle of a jungle full of exotic creatures, rivers and views that pictures in books could never do justice…or venturing to a South American coastline town deemed, “End of the World.”

Wherever our traveling destination rests, our first impressions usually resembles a type of ‘Promised Land.’ It’s a fresh start to begin an adventure and escape into a world with help from our imagination. Regardless of location, the time has come to get dressed for our own “Midnight in Paris.”

“To each his own.”

This is a fantastic and insightful phrase. Perception is important. It’s what we make of something that ultimately matters. A beautiful beach on an island in the Caribbean may be paradise to you, but an anchor of limited possibilities to a local.

A vacation does not necessarily mean loading the luggage on top of the new family truckster for a cross-country drive to Wally World. For some, it’s a chance of a lifetime. By the end, we may do something that nobody thought was possible. It could be aspirations of a better life someplace new or breaking into Wally World during its summer renovation for some Marty Moose themed fun…just depends on the individual.

Traveling allows us to hit the refresh button in our lives and escape from reality. Often times, the best getaways are born from daydreaming. This may include recreating a scene from a movie, living out a favorite song that has an important meaning or reaching a personal goal that everyone else laughs at. Some may say that thinking and traveling like this is comparable to living in a fantasy land… being too detached from the ‘real world.’ But isn’t this what dreams are about? Some of the ‘craziest’ ideas are the ones that have changed the world for the better.

Remember the old saying, “You only go around this crazy merry-go-round once.”

As kids, we were pushed to work hard and dream big. Encouragements like “Anything is possible!” to “You can’t have no in your heart” and “Don’t ever let anybody tell you that you can’t do something” are foundations of the human spirit. It’s in our DNA. Is there now an age limit to dreaming? Why not bridge the gap between real and imagined?

Surely, there are people who upon hearing about exciting and elaborate adventures simply shrug it off with pessimism. The conversation may go like this:

“One day, I’m going to go to Paris…the Galapagos Islands…Fiji…Antarctica!”

“Yeah, sure. In your dreams.”

“That’s the plan.”