I'm in the middle of my first weekend trip with my 12-year-old niece, and she is a great traveling companion. She liked strolling through airports instead of waiting at the gate as much as I do, happily ditched our Day One itinerary to do a little shopping, and even steered me away from the temptation of the Apple store here in Charleston with a not-so-subtle reminder that this was her birthday trip not mine.
As most of you know, I'm happiest when I'm on the road. Something about throwing a few clothes in a bag, grabbing my passport and hopping on a plane or train (or even driving the POS Vue I own) makes my world right. It's an addiction, a deep, indiscriminate need for movement that I have no idea how to fight. A few years ago I went through a period where I didn't go anywhere for about three months. So when a client visit to Decatur, Ill., came up, I was ecstatic.
A few months ago, when my niece asked to come to Charleston, I was thrilled and a bit worried. What if she didn't like flying? What if she didn't want local food but insisted on McDonald's? Worst of all, what if she'd rather stay in the hotel room and watch TV?
Needless worries all. She packed for days before I gently showed her why she didn't need her entire wardrobe. She loved flying, although the moving sidewalks (people movers) were her favorite part of the Charlotte airport. She was so-so on Tommy Condon's but loved Jim 'N Nick's BBQ. And when we strolled past the fountain at the end of Vendue, she jumped right into the towering jets of water--not caring at all what it did to her hair. How many 12-year-old girls would do that?
After a late-night night ghost hunt (alas, we didn't find any) I woke this morning to blessed heat, humidity high enough to make even my hair curl, and a profound sense of "it's time."
I'm not quite sure what it's time for--time to pass on the luggage or time for major change?--but my thoughts and feet work together. The more I walk, the clearer my next steps become. So by the journey's end, I'm sure I'll know what it's time for.
In the meantime, the niece and I are going to the
aquarium, and then walk through the straw market. Or we may ditch the itinerary for the second day in a row and do something completely different.