I'll always remember the feeling of trying to fall asleep the night before vacation as a little kid. Our bags were packed, the taxi was ordered, and we had our plan for when we were to wake up and get ready before heading off to wherever we we going. For me, this pre-travel excitement beat everything. Even the night before Christmas. I remember laying awake, unable to sleep and wondering if if I should just stay awake all night instead (that never happened). One thing I've realized as I've grown older: that pure excitement rarely comes to us as adults. I still look forward to events and trips, but with so much else going on in life, I don't have the ability to focus entirely on one thing. I miss that—the purity of a child's anticipation.
I write this from a flight, where the row over a family with two young children sits. The mom snaps pictures of the young boy staring excitedly out the window during takeoff, answering question after question about their upcoming trip for the older daughter. The unabashed excitement is contagious—the more I see them wholeheartedly engage with their upcoming adventure, the more I let myself focus on mine.
It's not to say I'm not looking forward to my weekend in Aruba—I could barely sit still last night while waiting for my best friend and travel companion to arrive from Chicago. But my mind is filled with hundreds of other thoughts—work, family, taxes—that clutter the inevitable thoughts of our weekend in tropical paradise.
Now that we're in route, I'm determined to be present throughout our experience, especially given the brevity of our trip. Weekend trips are an incredible opportunity to fit travel into our busy schedules and lend themselves for a budgeted life, but they also create a whirlwind that often surpasses our cognitive reflections. This time, I plan to be different. Every hour in Aruba will be intentional, whether its active or passive.
As I write this, entirely focused on his trip and nothing else, that childhood sense of jittery excitement is rising. May we never forget about it.