Summer getaways are one of the most anticipated annual activities to bring friends and families together no matter what the distance. Well-planned or spur of the moment, vacations are the allotted “playtime” set aside for adults, same as children. These excursions include all modes of transportation: automobiles, buses, trains, airplanes, boats, and even by foot.
When I planned my 2013 summer road trips and long distance vacations, I only envisioned the actual destinations, not the journeys to get there. Every year I seemingly repeat the same experiences I had sworn off the summer before. Thus far, I have endured a road trip and an airline transit this summer. During my trip to the Florida coast with two girlfriends, we were fortunate to avoid speed traps and unexpected maintenance issues. The seven-hour trip was actually only 6.5 hours due to one’s eagerness to escape the CSRA and reach the beaches of St. Petersburg and social opportunities of downtown Tampa.
I realized a few things about myself during the road trip to and from the Citrus State. I must drive. I detest stopping prior to the destination. I like for passengers to sleep the entire way. I’m a maniac behind the wheel. To further explain, having to stop for issues not related to fuel makes me grimace to say the least. I didn’t know it was such an issue for me until the third bathroom break! Needless to say, my goal for the next road trip is to soften my grip on the steering wheel and acceleration pedal while being more patient with passengers.
My next trip was to Michigan via the much preferred airline transportation. Airports are like a mall, museum and train station all in one. I love flying for several reasons. One is time efficiency. The seemingly “snap of fingers” arrival after a nice nap. The downside to flying is the uncertainty of canceled flights (which happened to me with my D.C. connection); parking fees versus finding a willing soul to drop you off at 5:30 a.m. or pick you up at 11 p.m.; and multiple connections.
I must have the window seat. Even if not assigned, I gun for it and hope the seatmate doesn’t notice I’m in A and not B. Speaking of seatmates, it is best to have a reader or sleeper, or else they will strike up the unavoidable conversation and want to know your life story the entire way to paradise; thus, you miss out on the scheduled snoozefest needed to kick start your vacation as soon as you step off the plane.
My absolute favorite part of flying is layovers which allows for the best people watching in the world! I must say, I am an expert PW. Sitting in a public venue, dissecting all the passersby in a rush or, like me, enjoying the layover. Flying with a lengthy layover truly is an experience that everyone should venture in. Depending on the airport and city, there is always a chance meeting of celebrities, potential professional connections, and even social media gold to include photo and video opportunities.
You can set your watch by the sprinting pilots and flight attendants in addition to the falls, spills, slips and stumbles. A constant in every airport: screaming babies and toddlers being herded in line to board. I often feel for parents who utilize public transit while dealing with unruly children who have missed their naps or refuse to listen in order to put on a show for the onlookers. I’m guilty of being a spectator.
My flight to Michigan was pure karma. I had the pleasure of being seated behind, beside and in front of three children under the age of 2. Imagine a 6:10 a.m. flight with two connections...buckling in, finding the right position to drift off to sleep and “WAAAA” times three!
Even the best-laid plans have a few glitches. Fortunately for me, my trips were overall delightful and filled with memories for a lifetime. I have enjoyed my friends and the scenic destinations. I look forward to more getaways before autumn leaves fall.