From the February/March 2017 issue of Cy’s Suitcase, the official publication of the Traveling Cyclones
I recently saw a story on Facebook about an older woman who denied treatment for her cancer so she could spend the rest of her time traveling. She died a year later after visiting 34 states with her son and her dog. The story ended with this quote: “You cannot control the wind, but you can direct the sail.”
I really like that. At a crucial point in her life, she chose to experience new things in new places, with the little time she had left. For anyone who has traveled, you know how it changes you. I know it has changed me! I have a couple of those life-changing experiences that have stuck with me over the years and have helped mold me into who I am.
In 2005, I hosted a trip on the Danube River before I was the Alumni Association’s travel director. I was hesitant about going since I was a single mom and leaving my four kids was not easy. Little did I know that this trip would be significant in helping me gain my independence. One of the stops on the trip was Prague, which remains one of my favorite places I have visited. I was on my own one day and found this amazing church hidden in a quaint courtyard. I am still not sure how I found that place. I attended service and it was beautiful. The church was so plain and although they spoke a different language, I didn’t have to understand the words. I felt the faith. After leaving the church, I found a restaurant and had lunch on a patio at this cute restaurant and remember thinking how far I had come: this small town Iowa girl in a foreign city, exploring on her own. On the last night of that trip, I was sitting on the top deck of the river boat in Budapest. There I was in the dark, watching all the lights of the boats cruising by and taking in the lights of the city, thinking how I didn’t want to leave my kids and now I don’t want to go home! This trip had changed me, and I knew I would never be the same.
A more recent experience was on a trip to Egypt. We were fortunate to stay in a hotel that
was one of the most amazing places I have ever been. As a colleague and I each entered our rooms, we both let out a squeal at the sight of what we saw when we opened our doors. It was a former palace and the rooms were exquisite. On top of that, the bathrooms were made of marble and tile and fit for a queen. As I soaked in the tub that night, the curtains were blowing in the breeze off the Nile. I remember thinking I couldn’t believe I was in Egypt. We had seen the pyramids and the Sphinx and now I was staying in a hotel off of the Nile River! How did this happen? I will never forget that moment and how that warm breeze felt. I then promised myself I would never take one minute of traveling for granted. I am truly blessed.
THAT is what traveling can do. It changes you. It changes your perspective and you are never the same because of it.
As I plan my trips for 2018, my hope is that each of my passengers will have one of these experiences with the Traveling Cyclones.