“How’s the packing coming?” My husband asks.
In a few days we will drive to the airport, board a plane and in due course arrive in Barcelona. Barcelona! The name itself is music. I can already hear the strum of guitars, see the flamenco dancers and the murmur of the sea…
“Have you packed your rain gear?” Continues the love of my life, eyeing his own orderly suitcase with what I consider overly smug satisfaction. No, not yet I haven’t, nor have I found the little folding umbrella which, I could swear, was right here in this closet the last time I checked. There are so many things to think about, and my suitcase already looks half full.
There are many travelers who calmly and methodically pack their bags and are ready to jump on a plane at an hour’s notice. I am not of this breed. For one thing, there are my medications. In the old days I traveled without this pharmacy which now follows me like the shackles around Marley’s ghost. There are at least twenty bottles filled with prescription and non prescription drugs. And I haven’t even begun to think about what I’m going to wear.
When I was younger, traveling was so easy. All I needed was a change of clothes and a toothbrush—and if I forgot the toothbrush, who cared? I could easily pick one up wherever I landed. Those were the days, I think somewhat sourly. Youth anticipates pleasure while age seeks to ward off possible disaster. Youth steps forward brightly, full of optimism and the certainty that there are limitless pleasures in the world and an endless number of years in which to enjoy them.
Far away countries
I will visit you some time…
These days I am much more aware of pitfalls and of the passing of years. Like a snail, I carry my travel experiences on my back and, yes, I remember the mishaps and pack accordingly. I was sick I was on travels some years back, so I must add antibiotics (and probiotics) to my personal pharmacy. There was also the time when my reading glasses broke just as we boarded the plane to Rome, and the mismatched pair of the only dress shoes I’d packed for a cruise, and the time when that bottle of perfume broke inside the suitcase…
But though my snail-shell is noisy with foreboding, it stores remembered delights too. Through the years we have had so many wonderful adventures abroad. What will I learn this time in the world away from my home? What interesting people will we meet? Will there be that heart-stopping moment of pure joy when I see the sun rise over a new and fabled land? In the end, anticipation overrides everything.
What sights still unknown
Await us at journey’s end?
Hurry- time passes!
The body may be older, but the heart is still young and hopeful and ready for adventure. So we will take to the road again— aging gypsies, perhaps, but wayfarers just the same. And though conditioned by the passing years to be wary of the curveballs that life can throw, I still hope and believe that joy will meet us on our journey and greet us at journey’s end.
So, now… where did I put that umbrella?