The thing I despise about going somewhere is waiting to go. I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to be calm and patient about this unless, of course, I’m going somewhere I’d rather not be – but that’s not the case here. The kid in me has been shouting, since March, “Yay! We’re going on vacation! Is it time to go yet?” The adult in me just shakes his head, mutters an obscenity about impatient kids, and tries to ignore the kid in me so he can use some of that adult coolness that’s required to sit and wait.
The adult is thinking timing, logistics, finances; the kid is thinking about how much he loves the rush of an airplane hurtling down the runway, being pressed back in his seat for a few cool seconds, then shouting, “V2! Rotate!” just as the nose of the plane points upward. Again, the adult in me just shakes his head and wonders why such a mundane thing still excites the kid in me after all these years and after so many flights – but he smiles, too, because it’s still a rush no matter how many times you’ve done it.
For the next two hours and thirty-five minutes, the adult and the kid will be at odds with each other; the adult wants the flight to end, already thinking ahead to deplaning, navigating the throng of people to claim baggage and the next checkpoint. The kid will be rejoicing at being in the skies again, grinning idiotically if and when a little turbulence is encountered and just marveling at how aerodynamics works to keep the aircraft in the air. Of course, he knows this just as well as the adult does but while the adult sees it as step three in the trip plan, well, the kid just loves to fly and if it were up to him, the flight would be longer.
Remind me to tell you about my flight to Japan some day…
At some point, the aircraft will start to maneuver to line up for its final approach; the adult will think it’s about damned time – and the kid will be bouncing off the cabin walls – he likes landings just as much as take-offs and it’s just so cool when the plane dips a wing and almost stands on its side. The adult, feeling kind of itchy because the kid’s enthusiasm is so contagious, tries to quash the heady feelings to concentrate on moving from the airport to the port, concerned with the transfer bus arriving at the airport on time, traffic issues – anything that will keep him from completing step six of the plan and, yeah, his thoughts already on step seven and getting checked in.
The kid’s thinking about the ship, too – but not about the logistics and hassle of getting there. It’s been a while since he was last on a cruise ship and he remembers that as if it were yesterday; while the adult in me will be thinking about the important stuff, the kid just wants to rip and run all over the ship to see all there is to see, although he’s very much aware his movements will be a lot slower than before – but that’s okay. The adult will be thinking that the initial troubles are now over and won’t have to be dealt with for another four days and while he can now relax, the kid is already going at warp eight – and the ship hasn’t even left the dock yet.
I can see all of this happening even though it hasn’t happened yet. I smile as I type and, oooh, yeah, I wanna go now. Wheels up in 26 days, feet wet a few long hours later! Of course, time will play its little tricks and make the next 26 days seem to stretch out to 26 months – amazing, that time dilation effect, huh?
After a day at sea – and with the kid bugging out over that, we’ll reach our first port of call: Jamaica. Both the kid and the adult will get all into being there since neither of them have been there before. Both will remember all of the things Linda’s told them and the energy levels will spike and the captain and pilot just can’t get the damned ship docked fast enough to suit them. The adult, camera at the ready, will be thinking about the beauty of this island nation and all of the great photographic moments to be captured; the kid will just be tripping over being there and trying to take it in all at once and wondering about all the good things to eat that he’s heard about.
It’ll be a long day – eight hours in port, if I remember correctly – and I already know that both the adult and the kid will just wear themselves out and both will sleep damned good that night with almost full memories and overfilled bellies. Yeah, when I go anywhere like this, it’s not as much about the things I’ll see – I like to go to eat the things I can’t normally eat at home and probably not supposed to eat; the kid in me doesn’t seem to have blood pressure and cholesterol issues – but the adult does but, hey, how many times do you get to do something like this? Diet my ass…
The next port will be the Cayman Islands and while the kid rests up for that, the adult will be busy mingling with our friends and family that made the trip, taking pictures, and just chilling – and eating, of course. I have to take a step back and think about the first day at sea, this impossibly huge collection of metal plying its way through the cerulean waters of the Caribbean, the sun, the ocean breezes. During this time prior to going feet dry at Jamaica, there will be more mingling, more pictures; enjoying the views from the upper deck and from our stateroom’s balcony and just getting off on being there.
Once we get to Grand Cayman, the excitement will be there for the adult and the kid… but the adult will be very aware that the next time we go feet dry, we’ll be headed home; the adventure will come to an end. He’ll be sad and wistful but also glad he was able to do this and knowing there are lots of memories stored in his head and in the Fujifilm S9000 camera that’s been his almost constant companion throughout. The kid won’t be thinking about going home; he won’t want any part of the adventure to end and because he knows it’ll have to, he’ll cram in all the fun and excitement possible, making the adult wonder just where in the hell he’s getting all this energy from.
Once we leave there, we’ll be on our way home; during the at-sea day, the adult will already be thinking about the logistics of getting off the ship in a timely fashion, getting back to the airport, doing the hated security thing… then two hours and thirty minutes in the air and knowing, for some reason, that the flight home won’t be as much fun as leaving was. More airport crap to deal with, then the ride home, unpacking, getting mugged by the cat – sheesh.
In my mind, I’ve lived through the trip over and over, from beginning to end, feeling the rush and excitement as well as the sadness connected with it all. The good thing is – and the kid in me knows this – is that, really, the trip hasn’t begun yet so he’s getting really itchy counting down the days until the adventure begins in earnest. And that’s the hard part, trying to maintain my adult coolness and aloofness while trying to contain the kid’s infectious enthusiasm. The cool thing is I’m not the only one who’s feeling it; my baby is, too, although I think she’s handling this better than I am. We’re both seasoned travelers; she has the advantage of having been to Jamaica before – but the cruise ship will be very new to her and while she’s being calm and methodical about all the pre-trip stuff, there’s a little kid inside her just aching to get out and have fun with my inner child.
It’s so cool to watch her eyes light up when we’re going over everything’s that been done; I can feel her excitement as if it were my own. Her adult mode isn’t all that different than mine, planning, calculating, and paying attention to the details. The kid in me likes messing with her adult, like hinting at how she’ll be surprised at just how big the ship really is, especially if we can see it before we go on board. Hell, I remember my first view of the first cruise ship I ever sailed upon (and it was the smallest in that line’s fleet) and saying, as I strained my neck to look up, “Jesus, that fucking thing is big!” Yeah, seeing a cruise ship on TV just does not do the sight any justice at all.
Even if we don’t get to glimpse the ship before boarding, when we get to Jamaica, we’ll dock off-shore and shuttle by smaller boat to the island and we’ll both get to see what the first 100,000-ton cruise ship looks like – the camera will be busy, too! My inner child will be in awe of its immense size and weight and amazed that something that weighs that much can float, all while the adult is very much aware of how that’s possible – it’s really no big deal but try telling the kid that.
Twenty-six long and agonizing days to go. I haven’t really started bouncing off the walls yet but I know it’s coming and I’m really looking forward to it. It’ll be good to get away from here and do something we rarely get a chance to do; it’s been doing both of us a lot of good to put this trip together and to feel the excitement of it all and knowing that these are moments we can share again, just as we did when we went to Antigua just a couple of years ago. Everything that had to be done has been done so now we can let our imaginations run freely, looking ahead to the joys of traveling together, the sights to be seen, the enormous amounts of food and drink to be had and enjoyed.
It’s a “family and friends” group cruise, put together by our oldest child and, well, this should be interesting, especially watching how they all interact with each other in this environment. It’s gonna be a blast, even though it’s not as if I’ve not kinda hung out with them before – this will be so very different from the other family get-togethers I’ve attended with Linda. She tends to roll her eyes a lot about this and has had me in stitches laughing; of course, she knows her family and I think all of the people who’ll be there and listening to her predictions of how they might behave is just flat out funny.
And, really, that’s just what the doctor ordered, as it were. God, you get so caught up with the day-to-day things necessary to survive that you forget that having fun is also an important thing to do. The adults in us figured out how to make this happen – and our inner kids are so happy that we did. We need to have this kind of fun more often; we’ve already started looking at cruising again next year or maybe even going to Japan, if we can work the numbers the right way. And this, too, is fun because it really isn’t the destination as much as how you get there…