I wrote this post in April of 2014 from row 31, Seat B of a six hour flight from New York City back home to Seattle:
Yes, 31 B is without a doubt a middle seat in the coach cabin of my flight. I am just five feet five inches tall and my knees nearly touch the seat in front of me. It’s so cramped that when I dropped my crochet hook I edged into the personal space of my row-mate – a Pakistani gentleman who is sitting to my right. He is a lovely man – he even offered me part of the sandwich he brought onboard.
I have probably knit eight inches of a paprika orange scarf. I read the New York Times from cover to cover and saved a couple of the articles for later perusal. I tried to doze since I was up until 1:30am this morning, talking with my sisters. I couldn’t fall asleep. The steward – I think that’s the PC name for a male version of flight attendant – passed through the cabin and ignored me when offering cups of water. After a light breakfast this morning, I didn’t have time to make a decent bag of food for the plane, so I ordered a wrap from the airline menu. I hate wraps. I really do. And I’m thirsty. Forget getting up to go to the restroom.
So why do I put myself through long flights, bus trips, subway rides, train rides, boat rides on a pretty frequent basis? Because I really love to travel. I want to see as many places in the world as possible. I want to visit my children and grandchildren when they’ll have me. I long to be in the same room with my sisters. I wish to be with my extended family and friends who live far away to keep our connection. I hope to climb mountains, swim in oceans, ride my bicycle without gears, walk through jungles and cities, go to foreign movies, see theater productions … I’m game for pretty much anything.
Some day, and I don’t know when that day will come, I won’t be able to take a red eye flight. I won’t have the strength to lift my carry on suitcase into the overhead compartment of a train. I won’t be able to figure out the subway stops or the exchange rates. I won’t care to stay for three weeks in a recreational vehicle or tent. I will no longer want to pack three weeks of clothing into a 20-inch bag.
But that some day is not today. And it is so worth it to me to see as much of the world as I can. It really is. For me, travel is a perfect vehicle to learn history, geography, language, culture and anthropology. Most of all, I know that my travels throughout the United States and the other continents have given me a real appreciation of people and their differences, a birdseye view of culture that makes stereotypes and judgments explode. People are people; we are individuals who have more similarities than differences. And there is beauty everywhere.
And so, for now, I will keep traveling. Many of my views have been transformed through travel. Through travel I believe I understand better, make fewer assumptions, and form my opinions and intentions based on lessons from people I’ve met and places I’ve visited.
Here are some of my pictures that I make me smile, make me cry, and make me who I am.