Planning for the journey

Feb 15, 2021

 by Beth Roberts

I switched on the news this morning when I woke up, as usual. The biggest difference today was the weather forecast. Typically watching the weather on a February morning makes me cringe and roll my eyes. Normally I bundle up, get out the shovel, clean the snow and ice off my car and deal with the slippery roads. Not today. Today I heard about the deep freeze and ice storms all over the country and the horrors of winter from the Florida meteorologist. They also reported that Florida “is the only warm place in the continental US” at the moment. I did a little celebratory dance (in my head) then put on my mask, sunglasses and flip flops and pranced out my hotel room door to have coffee by the pool.

Today I am congratulating myself for this epic decision to take a few weeks away from the cold to visit family, regroup and just be warm. Leaving central Vermont to embark on just about any journey that involves flying is no easy task any time of year, but the winter is especially challenging. My flight from Logan to Florida is direct and simple but I had to get to Boston and figure out where to park my car for 20 days. This involves planning extra travel days on each end of the trip. Day one of travel involved a snowstorm, two cancelled flights and a shared Uber with new travel acquaintances to the Dartmouth Coach to Logan Airport the day before my morning nonstop to Florida. I caught my hotel shuttle once I finally arrived in Boston six hours after leaving my home in Vermont. The journey from my house to Boston once again proved to be more difficult and time consuming than what should have been the longest leg of the trip: the flight down the east coast to the land of warmth and sunshine.

In the end, this journey was all worth it, I was in the right mindset for it. A past version of myself would have been impatient and annoyed with the cancelled flights and long day of uncertainty on how to get to Boston. After nearly 13 years of living in the center of a landlocked state I have learned that the vacation begins on that first leg of the journey. This is possible if you allow plenty of time and plan your route with multiple backup options. My tactic now is to arrive early, be open to any form of travel offered and be prepared with snacks, books, electronic devices and chargers. Any time I have felt rushed or stressed about getting to my flight in the past I feel that I have taken longer to decompress and just enjoy the journey.

So here I am, sitting by the pool, typing my blog, sipping a good cup of coffee, relaxed and refreshed. I also have my Ipad streaming the news and I am smugly glancing at the frigid temps and stories of ice storms as I kick off my flip flops and watch the resort slowly come to life. I feel accomplished in getting here. I also feel very fortunate to be able to be here.

My next stop is my parents house where I will spend a week visiting. We will do a little traveling around the area to favorite beaches and towns. After that I will drive across the state to visit my brother and his family before I head home to the land of winter to quarantine for a week and get tested for Covid.

I plan to soak in every last second of warmth and sunshine before I shift my mindset to layering up and expecting my return journey to take at least 36 hours. My mindset will slowly transition back to wearing ski hats, shoveling, deicing and trying to stay warm for the last few months of a Vermont winter. In my opinion, being prepared for the actual transportation portion of any vacation is important for the success of the trip. The external influences that can affect your travel day are numerous. Over the years I have found that anything I can do to make the travel experience more pleasant enhances the duration of the journey itself.

Time to move to a lounge chair and put on the sunblock. Sometimes I make great choices.