On page 296—the last page of the Afterword—I end the book saying this: “Each of us has a story. If we tell it over and over, we can become stuck in our story and never move on. To move to the next level, we must leave our story behind, tell it one last time and never look back. When the story is released, a new journey begins.”
My new journey may involve some traveling, but I have fears about airline travel. After 9/11, I decided not go anywhere I couldn’t drive. From what I’ve heard, air travel is no longer fun. In fact, some people tell me it’s downright miserable. A person must make her own reservations, arrive at the airport three hours prior to departure, stand in long security lines, check in at a warm-fuzzy kiosk, carry on a heavy bag or pay to check it, and so on. I need to overcome this fear of flying and get back in the air. Last week, an “earth angel” came to my rescue.
Once a year, my friend Charmain Tyler visits us for a
day or two. She lives in the Bay Area of California and flies to Denver on annual business. When she’s finished, she drives down to see me and Jim. Normally we spend one day making jewelry and soaking in the hot springs. This time the visit was shorter. I took her with me on my errands, followed by coffee in the outdoor patio of Mother’s Bistro , and dinner theater melodrama in the evening.
Char is an accomplished airline traveler. Without digging out my resume, I am guessing that I’ve known her since 1982, when she hired me to work for American Television and Communications as a trainer. In that position I was expecting to travel to the southeastern US and teach cable television office managers how to switch from a manual billing system to an automated one. The project didn’t happen, but Char and I became fast friends. Her career path in communications management consulting led to working in Japan and Europe for a decade. Today she’s a special education administrator in a California school district.
Before she left our house, she gave me an impromptu seminar on how to travel, 2010 style. We started with the computer. She said she uses Expedia for all her travel arrangements. There are other travel services out there, but she likes Expedia best. She showed me how to find affordable room and airline reservations. I created a fictitious itinerary–one that I might even take–to Baltimore to see the American Visionary Art Museum. I would fly into BWI, get a room at one of the airport hotels for under $100 (Yay, Expedia), take a taxi to the museum, visit a friend in Baltimore, and return to the hotel for the night. That is just the first leg of a journey that would take me to Silver Spring, Maryland to visit my cousin Sandra Doren, and then to Kingsport, Tennessee (my hometown), where I would present the library with a copy of my book. It’s a dream trip. It might even materialize into a real trip if I can put all the pieces together.
Next, she showed me how to pack. Char travels for an entire week with her clothing and accessories tucked into one little carry-on-sized bag. To the left is a picture of her “office.”
And here’s a picture of her carry-on bag, which she willed to me, since she bought a new one at the Samsonite outlet store in Dillon, Colorado. This will be my carry-on bag, IF and WHEN I fly somewhere.
Because the carry-on bag is small, she uses two shrink-sealed bags to downsize the bulk of her clothing. Here are some pictures of her demonstrating how she does it. You can buy these bags in travel stores.
Step 1: Stuff a bag fairly full. This bag will hold the equivalent of two fluffy, full-sized bath towels. Char puts all her shirts and underwear into one bag. She says that nothing wrinkles after being squished down to a pancake.
Step 2: Use the yellow plastic sealer-slider to seal the bag end. (Below Right) It’s not unlike sealing a ziplock bag, except that the yellow sealer-slider is not attached to the bag. It is loose. She admonished me to always keep the sealer-slider inside the bag when not in use.
Step 3: Roll the sealed end up. See picture at left. Air escapes from the other end, but does not allow air back into the bag.
Step 4: Turn the packet over and roll it again, expelling any residual air.
Here is a picture of the finished packet, ready to place
in the Samsonite bag. Char uses two of these in her carry-on.
When Char left at 11:30, last Thursday, I felt almost ready to make a trip somewhere by air. I wonder if I should start by making a simple trip—just one destination—such as Charlottesville, Virginia, to see my Aunt Gertie. Once I have a single destination under my belt and feel more confident about the airport, check-in procedure, and all of that, wouldn’t it be reasonable to venture out on a longer expedition?
And now for the kicker: Do you believe in signs? I was walking the dirt road where I live and found this 4 1/2 inch feather. Feathers are not something I normally notice while walking our circle. Can anyone identify the bird from which this feather came? I have my suspicions. Canada geese, eagles, ravens, hawks, and lots of small birds cross overhead. The message for me is confirmation and encouragement to leave my nest and fly. . . East. Voila!