As we were walking through passenger tunnel boarding the plane for Canada a couple of evenings ago, my daughter turned to me and said, “Dad, I love being on this almost as much as I love being on the plane.” I looked down at her and smiled. “I was same as you when I was a kid,” I replied. And truth be told, I still am.
I don’t know why it is so exciting to walk along that passageway. It’s not like I have ever taken the turn to walk down the elite path to first class. Heck, I haven’t even had the pleasure of putting my bags in a luggage compartment above the seats in economy plus. Nevertheless, I still get that warm feeling in my belly and excited surge of energy every time I walk down the tunnel towards the newspaper trolley and boarding doors. I love the idea of flying.
As a kid, everything about the experience was amazing. I grew up at a time when stewardesses were allowed to take children up to the cockpit to meet the pilot. They gave us each our own flight pin and fed us with the illusion that we were part of the flight crew. It never mattered how bad airplane food was. My brother and I were more concerned with making soups out of the salad dressing and other condiments. Although the only in-flight entertainment was a movie shown on a screen at the front of each section, we were always given cards, coloring books and puzzles to keep us occupied. And if I did get bored with my toys, I would simply head to the bathroom and load my pockets with tiny soaps and other bathroom goodies. I’d then return to my seat, show my brother my ‘haul’ and laugh about how tricky I was. Flying was amazing.
The best part about flying, however, was (and obviously always will be) the destination. As I child, most trips were to see relatives in Florida, New Jersey and Calgary. Although we made the trips yearly, time and personal growth made the familiar fresh and new. From the first smile of excitement at the arrival gate to the teary-eyed farewells at departures (Well…this was never fun.), everything about our holidays was amazing. Despite the regularity of our visits, we were always thrilled to take the journey.
Now, we split our trips between visits back home to see grandma and grandpa and vacations around the world. Both Rachel and I want to keep Siaya connected with her family abroad and are excited to see that she is also keen to feel her grandparents’ arms around her neck. She wants to see her family as much as we want to take her there.
We also want to open our daughter’s eyes to the world and have her experience different cultures. I realize that we are setting ourselves up to watch our daughter settle her roots far away from home; however, I feel that I would be denying her the gift that my parents gave to me if I prevented her from seeing for herself what the world has to offer.
Roam, by the B52s, is as song that brings me back to grade twelve when I first started boarding planes on my own. What started as trips to see my extended family had become trips to Cuba, Mexico and Europe. I was no longer a ticket used by my parents to board the plane first. I was traveling with my brother and friends, experiencing the world as I wanted.
I was taught at an early age that the world, as small as it is, is full of wonder, beauty and thrills waiting to be seen and experienced. My parents gave me the itch to keep my feet moving and roam to places far and wide. However as the train on which we are now sitting gets closer to Cornwall, our final destination, I am even more keenly aware of the importance of my desire to always come back home.
Roam youtube link