When we traveled to Norway a few years ago, I had a phrase I uttered repeatedly to my children: The first rule of travel is “Hurry up and wait.” It seems whenever you travel, the trip is filled with an inevitable ebb and flow. You rush to get to the airport to check in, then you wait in line. You hurry to get through security screening just to sit idly at the gate. When it’s finally boarding time, you rush to get on the plane only to sit in line waiting for take off. It is the way it works.
So far today our experience is proving my first rule of travel to be absolute. We woke up at 5:15 to get our luggage out for the tour company by 6. We were exhausted after only four hours of sleep, but we soldiered on, had breakfast, and waited for our 7:20 departure to the airport for our flight from mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands. At 7:20, though, we were informed that the plane we are taking is still in Quito because it is damaged. So, now we must wait on another plane. Sigh.
It amazes me how different my boys are. With the flight delayed, my more laid back Luke promptly fell asleep in a couch in the lobby. Joe, however, began to stress out, afraid our ship would leave the islands without us, annoyed that we were stuck at the hotel. I just keep repeating the travel mantra to him and reassuring him that we will get there eventually. And we will…even if it doesn’t feel that way right now.
I used to hate the tides of travel, but now I don’t mind “hurry up and wait” as much because it forces me to live in the moment. There’s something incredibly freeing in having no choice but to sit and be, to exist in the present and wait for the day to unfold rather than bullying your way through it. Still, I admit that, like Joe, I think I’d like “be” a lot happier if I was sitting on some white sand near some playful sea lions. What can I say? Old habits die hard.