Ticket to Ride

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I have a smile that only comes out when I’m about to embark on a journey. The ticket is purchased, I’m in the airport or the train station and I know that whatever is at the end of my journey is going to be new and interesting and it makes the corners of my lips curl without me even realizing it. That is, until recently.

I noticed the smile on my lips for the first time while in the Paris airport waiting at customs for them to stamp my passport so I could catch my plane to Prague. I thought that maybe it was a one-time thing, but then today as I was sweating at a bus station about to catch a train Germany on the spur of the moment, I noticed it again: subtle, but sincere and unstoppable.

It wasn’t until several hours later when I was reflecting on that smile that I think I realized why that moment of transit makes me so happy. It’s because that moment is decisive. A decision and preparation have been made and I am moving towards a destination. As I’m sure you’re all tired of hearing, I’ve felt recently like I have a blank plane ticket to anywhere in the world, and the sheer volume of choices is so overwhelming that it is paralyzing.

Extending this metaphor, sometimes it’s tempting to want others to make the decision for you. It seems so much easier than sifting through all the travel websites yourself. Or sometimes it seems appealing to just leave it up to chance. Maybe throw a dart at a map and just go there. But ultimately that isn’t the best either. I mean, I know that I would much rather spend my free ticket on a trip to Argentina than to Kansas (nothing against Kansas). Me being a part of the decision making process, allows me to enjoy the results to a greater degree.

The other tempting thing to do is wait and wait, holding out for a really great deal to present itself. Even when a good ticket price arises, it’s difficult to jump on it, because there could be something better that comes up in the future. While you should never buy the first ticket you look at (really that’s a great piece of advice, check multiple websites and compare prices), you also have to be careful that you don’t wait too long. At a certain point, the prices go up and often you have to settle for less than you wanted in the first place.

Wow, this metaphor is turning into an allegory. Returning to the main point, I like traveling, because there’s a destination. And even when there are complications, I enjoy dealing with them, because they’re all part of the journey to where I want to be.

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