Departures flood you with emotions: sadness at leaving loved ones for awhile, stress over getting everything on the to-do list done, worry that everything will be okay, and excitement for the adventures and friends that await. This trip everything seems heightened, and getting through security to the gate was even a stressful exercise in patience.
On board the plane, I am a kid in a candy shop: what movie can I watch? Should I watch two or try to get more sleep? For some entirely unknown reason, I've not brought any books or ebooks with me. So, the flight is a place for journaling and movie watching. I haven't been journaling much lately, but I'm dedicated to getting words down on this trip. It's very natural for me to write while traveling, the floodgates open as soon as I'm through security. This blog has always helped me access the immediacy of the experiences and the stories.
By the time we landed in Dublin, I was tired, and the five hour layover didn't entice me to go explore. Instead, I window shopped the stores, sought food, and logged on to the free wifi. This immediate access to communication has transformed the way I travel, and when I don't have wifi and access to searching out helpful info on the internet, I feel oddly disconnected.
Dublin has free wifi. Manchester gives you a free hour. It is strange, however, not to have the ability to call or text on my phone. I need to rely on email and Skype, which suits the slower travel pace.
After snoozing at the gate and on board the brief flight (5 hr layover for 35min flight), Claire whisks me off through Friday night traffic as people head to Wales. Today is a day for quick catch-ups and packing all our stuff into one bag. The strict carry on rules and expensive baggage fees have us working all our stuff into one bag. It's going to be hot in Dubrovnik, and at least our clothes take up less space.
What's loveliest: sitting in a room face to face with a dear friend in her home, drinking tea, eating good food, laughing, watching Wimbledon. I will be doing this many times over the next month, and I am already in awe of this contentment.
I've come to see this trip as a Harvest--a gathering of gratitude for friendships that began long ago and some more recent: 1993, 1994-1995, 1998, 2013. These friends I've met on three different continents, and over the years we've managed to stay connected. This trip isn't just about these wonderful friends but their families, too, as I spend time with their families of origin and now their own partners and children. Most wonderfully, it's about seeing them face to face and capturing these moments to hold on to until the next visit. I gather gratitude like I gather photographs: abundantly.
Day 2: on to Croatia!