The air craft is dark. There is a persistent hum mixed with the chatter of the airline staff moving about the cabin. On the horizon, the sun lines the edge in neon orange. Mars hangs in the sky as the brightest light. We are nearly to Heathrow.
I was remembering my very first plane flight. I was 16. The year was 1974. I don’t know who was more excited me or my mom. I grew up in a small town and it took 20 minutes to 1/2 hour by car to get a gallon of milk.
Travel, to us, was going to Fitchburg or Worcester to a movie or grocery shopping. My mother worked hard. She had 5 kids and 4 at home after our Dad died suddenly. So any “extras” in our young lives were very special.
A year before my first airplane trip, my mother sent my brother Terry on a ski trip to Switzerland. I remember sitting with her in our dining room. Our dining room table was always the “catch all” for miscellaneous stuff associated with a large teen age family. She sat at her sewing machine pushing the material under the needle while I read aloud from the old Encyclopedia Britannica about Zurich, the Matterhorn and Zermatt.
She was so excited for him. She was so proud of herself to have given him the opportunity to ski Switzerland! I still have the key chain with the adelviess flower and two wooden skis crossed with the name Zermatt across the top. What a childhood treasure from my brother.
When she asked if I wanted to ski the alps only 1 year later, I was starry eyed! The idea of seeing life beyond Massachusetts had me giddy.
She gave me no warning when she brought me to the pharmacy for my passport photo. I still remember I was wearing a yellow ski sweater and had regretted my choice right up to the day that passport expired.
My mother didn’t have a passport.
My first flight was to France with the Wachusett Regional Ski Club to ski Charmonix and Mt Blanc. That’s exactly when I caught the traveling bug.
I thought about that gift today. My mother’s generous gift of showing me life outside our boundaries.
She first flew when I went to college. I remember the flight vividly. I was 18 and we flew to Chicago. Believe it or not they allowed smoking on the planes back then and she was so nervous she smoked a pack of cigarettes in 3 hours. I actually have a physical response to that memory. I can feel my lungs closing up.
Travel “riches”you up. My mother knew that. She eventually got a passport and traveled the globe with her girlfriends.
Because of her, I’ve spent the last 40 years collecting countries and sharing the world with the people I love.
We are about to land! Buckle up, tray tables down, seat backs up...start planning your next adventure...Challenge your boundaries!