They say travel is about learning about yourself as much as seeing new places. Here’s what I learned in over twelve hours of travel yesterday:
I hate being confined in airplanes with strangers. Now I know part of the joy of travel is meeting new people, I just don’t like doing it when I’m in a small, confined space at 30,000 feet and battling airsickness. There’s nowhere to go from the guy sticking his elbows in your personal
space, the two people next to you having a discussion on the Canadian education system, or the guy behind you with really bad body odor. [Just
to note: the amiable debate on education was between a Nova Scotian with a four year old fluent in both French and English and a Quebecois woman conducting a philosophical discussion in English, so the education system can’t be doing too badly. I wasn’t about to chime in with my monolingual teacher status.]
I also hate low visibility landings. Both Toronto and Halifax were socked in – the ceiling at Shearwater AFB across the harbor from Halifax was 100 feet when I went to bed last night. On the flip side, encountering a sunny day above all those clouds after takeoff is still somehow surprising no matter how many times it happens.
Enough whining. What I love about travel? One thing is the quirky stuff you discover. Like the label on the Fahrenheit thermostat in the hotel room explaining to metric users that 70 degrees is comfortable. Or the list of prohibited carryon items in Canadian airports including hockey pucks (only in Canada!). Or the Irish dj on a Halifax radio station. I love hotel washrooms (Canadian term). Even the most economy hotel has ones that are bout twice the size of mine at home, newer, and best of all, cleaned by someone else.
I learned I tend to channel old guy singers in my head when I travel. Leavin’ on a Jet Plane by John Denver. Paul Simon’s Homeward Bound in the Montreal airport: “I’m sitting in a railway station, got a ticket for my destination.” Paul McCartney’s Back in the USSR in flight: “All the way the paperback was on my knee, man I had a dreadful flight.”
Finally, I’d forgotten how beautiful and in-your-face nature is here. The airport is only about 25 miles from Halifax, but it’s surrounded by pine trees and the drive to town is beautiful, even in the fog and mist. I saw my first lupines again along the road. Hopefully I’ll have pictures today of my drive along the North Shore to Yarmouth.
First I’m off to church. “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice in it and be glad.”