A blog for people who don't want to spend all their free time in the real world. After all, we live and work there. Escape the mundane with books, travel, and writing.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Anticipation


When I was little, I spent all December playing with the wrapped gifts under the tree.  I rearranged them by giver, by receiver, by wrapping paper, by size.  I stacked and restacked and shook and poked, all the while wondering what lay inside.  I could hardly sleep on Christmas Eve.  I burned with anticipation.  In the morning, we were barred from the living room until Mom put on a scratchy old Christmas record and turned the tree lights on.  Then we'd emerge into a wonderland of toys and gifts.  Though not extravagant by many people's standards, it was fantastic to me.  I loved Christmas morning, but I also loved the anticipation of all those many days before.  And maybe, just maybe, I loved the anticipation more.

Now it's not Christmas that gets me rearranging things for hours, dreaming of what will come.  It's travel.  I spend hours rearranging my search criteria on travel websites, entering different dates for a flight abroad, different ports for a good deal on a cruise, researching cheap hostel options and public transportation routes in new cities.  I browse guidebooks and websites and talk to other travelers.  I can spend hours and hours on my vacation before I ever set foot out the door.  That anticipation feeds me.

I booked my first cruise five weeks before departure.  Those five weeks were a blur of happiness.  Happiness and packing.  My Dad joked that I was getting at least $100 of fun out of it before I ever got on the ship.  And that made it a very cheap cruise. 

I once traveled budget style around Central America for six months.  You should have seen me hunting down Permethrin to do a long-term insect repellent treatment on my bed-sized mosquito net, waterproofing my shoes, shopping for clothes that were light-weight, wrinkle-free, and quick-drying, for all the sweat and hand washing and hauling everything around on my back.  The trip lasted for six months, but the joy of it started a year before and hasn't ended yet.

Memories let you live an experience twice.  But anticipation lets you live it three times.

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