Last summer, my mom and I were enjoying a warm outdoor lunch in Budapest just before she left for a multi-week, multi-country small group tour of the Balkans. She was excited about seeing a new part of the world but also wondered if that style of travel would be agreeable to her, as it was the first trip of its kind she had taken.  Growing up, we typically vacationed in one place, like on an island in Michigan. Best way to ensure your five young kids don’t get lost? Park them on a small island with no roads or cars or strangers and get back to your book.

At our lunch last summer I remarked that one reason that traveling is so appealing to me is because I enjoy the travel part of travel.

Unlike many people (I suspect) who dread the hours of airport hassle, the cramped planes, and the inevitable confusion that assaults you upon arrival (where are the taxis? Where is our luggage? How do I get money? Am I being overcharged? Where is my hotel? Can I order food in this restaurant without looking like an idiot?), I happen to get some pleasure out of those parts too.  I like hanging out in an airport and watching the departure boards, daydreaming about where I might go next. Planes are one of the only places where I am forced to unplug completely, so I can relax with an actual book or have an actual conversation. When I’m in the middle of a journey, I feel swept up in its current – I can go through the motions of getting to the airport and showing up at the right gate, and let the professionals handle the rest.

Journey2-min

I even enjoy the post-flight craziness, when I’m back in charge, navigating public transportation, getting some local currency, finding my way to the hotel or apartment rental and then immediately going out to explore.

I get why the journey is no fun for most travellers. Heavy luggage is not fun to carry. Security lines at the airport are not beacons of delight Planes are cramped, the food is bad and we just want to get there already!!!

But I’ve found that if you can find some amount of pleasure in those tasks, some enjoyment out of the sitting and waiting and walking and sitting some more, your feelings about travel will also improve. Travel becomes more than just the destination but starts the minute you walk out the door.

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