Monday, March 27, 2017

Here I Go Again

I found out something interesting.  Over the last two weeks, I have come to notice my wedding band more, whether by looking at it, or merely touching it.  I also have a shirt and house pants from both the University of Hartford and Johnson and Wales University.  When I packed, I am sure it was unconscious the selections.  In hindsight, I realize that this is not true, that my family is always on my mind, even when traveling.

Recently, I wrote about Debbie and Bec traveling with me being at home alone during that time.  This time, I am the one away.  After the last experience, maybe I have become more cognizant or more open to realizing that whether home or away, when I am alone, I do miss my family.  I do wish Debbie came with me.  Yes, I know that I am working long hours, but it is the thought that she is nearby…I do wish Gab and Bec came as well, as I am a firm believer in the benefits of traveling, experiencing other cultures and spending unique experiences as a family.  I missed them enough to pass a spot that we were at as a family, in Hong Kong, eight years ago.  I am not necessarily the sentimental type, but traveling alone, missing my family and having a place with positive memories is hard to just push away.

OK – I admit, I did not sit in a room pouting or feeling sorry for myself.  I did make use of my time while away.  I had the opportunity to have dinner with a friend in Hong Kong that I last visited with my family 10 years ago.  It was great seeing her and her family.  I really appreciated that they made a traditional Chinese dinner for me.  In Australia, I had the unique experience of my friend from Down Under having me as a passenger in a 4-seater plane, a very cool experience.  One night, I even had the opportunity to see a very funny play before it comes to our own Broadway.

When talking to Debbie earlier in my time away, she mentioned how lonely she felt.  I know she said the same to me in the past, but this time, I was able to empathize with her more so than in the past, having recently been in the same position.  The lesson learned?  Being alone is just that…being alone.  For business travel, you might be around people, but once you are in your room, there is only you. When you are home, you might be around people and you might have things to do during the day, but once you are in your house, there is only you.  We are married over 25 years.  We know each other almost 27 years.  You get used to each other, having each other around and the comfort knowing that someone else being there, even if you are in different parts of the house.

Best part?  Coming home and within a few days being able to be together, the four of us.  It might have been for a short time before the girls went back to school and we drove home, but precious time nonetheless.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Up, Up and Away

The plane casually taxied down the runway.  Even though the plane was ready, the number of checks and crosschecks prior to reaching this point was important (proper procedures) prior to takeoff.  James went over the passenger briefing to make sure I understood my role.  It was time.  Gently, the plane left the ground and a big grin was on my face as a single word, “cool,” escaped from my lips into the microphone… 

Is it a bird?  Is it…OK, you all know the rest of this saying.  As a child (all those long years ago), I remember being excited to go on a plane.  My first time was a school break in 1971 where we were going to visit my Uncle Ace who lived in Florida and go to Disney in Orlando.  At the time, the park was only a few years old and only Magic Kingdom existed.  Going on a plane - It was so exciting.  It was not like today, where visiting family, etc., is easy enough to hop on a plane and go.  The amount of travel (FIND OUT SOME STATS) was not as prevalent as today.  Even as I got older, I still was excited about flying, including still preferring to sit by the window and watch take offs and landings.  I know there is some serious science behind this phenomenon, but to me, it is still magic.  Choruses of Peter Pan singing, “We can fly” is still a fascination, to leave the earth and be airborne.

“Don’t tell me until after you go.”

“Really, he’s going to take you up in a plane?”

“Nice knowing you, don’t forget to say goodbye before you leave, in case I don’t see you again.”

Some nerve! These were some of the comments I heard when I said my friend James was taking me flying.  Good thing I stopped looking to others to determine my opinions for me a long time ago.  Thomas Edison stated, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Do we do the same with opportunities to engage in new experiences?  For the last few years, I have come to believe that we draw circles around ourselves, which define our personal comfort zones.  Some of the drawn circles were “gifted” to us by others, but most we draw around ourselves over time.  

What if, you had a chance to try something completely unique.  No strings attached…would you take the chance?  Two years ago, as Jim Kirk would say, I boldly stepped where no man has gone before.  OK, let us make that no Zeiler man…by willfully stepping out of a plane.  Meshuga (Yiddish for crazy)? Yes.  A great experience – absolutely.  What if a four seat Copper mini, could sprout wings and fly, would you willingly take a seat in it?

As I looked out my window, the tiny 4-seater had left the ground, backed around towards the right and headed towards the city.  It was a beautiful, clear day, and we were able to see the mountains miles to the north and the Port Philip heads miles to the south.  The flurry of activity to my left was James forever in motion while piloting the plane.  James took the time to point out the sites between turning dials and maneuvering the plane.  Around the coast, past the city then it was time to alight back where we started.  James landed the plane more gently than most commercial flights.  And, like that, the flight and my new experience were over.  I was open to new experiences, and glad that Mr. Edison’s opportunity showed up as an Aussie mate dressed in jeans.