Journeys Well Traveled

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As I take in this Southern California sun-splashed beach scene and watch some brave surfers in their black suits waiting for the next big wave to hit, the trip highlights of the last three months scroll before my mind’s eye. Vienna’s Imperial Horse Riding School Performance, the Hohenwerfen Fortress, Italy’s majestic Dolomites, the flamenco rhythms and Moorish architecture of Southern Spain, Casablanca’s bustling bazaar, Lisbon’s dreamy seven hill setting, the hyper-modern pulse of the United Arab Emirates, the tranquil beaches of Sri Lanka. 10 flights, 6 train rides, several road trips, one cruise, and 11 different hotel beds later, we are back in Long Beach with all our belongings where it all started three months ago. Traveling thousands of miles, one is definitely in for more than one adventure. Schlepping yourself in and out of airports and train stations a lot of things can happen for the good and the bad. Missing suitcases, stolen travel documents, cancelled, delays or missed flights and trains; the list is almost endless as the universe. And adding another complication to the matter is the likely possibility of misunderstanding or no understanding given the fact that almost every country in Europe speaks another language.
Listening to many travelers’ woes over the years, I have heard it all before. Many things have gone wrong for many people. But touch wood, not so for me. It seems almost unreal that every one of our trips from start to finish went smooth as can be. Maybe it’s luck or maybe I have just learned over the years how to act and behave in foreign countries. Or maybe it’s really true what my Mutti always told me every time she sent me off with my bags. “When angels travel all will be well,” she used to say crossing my forehead before she hugged me good buy. Something in her tone made me take her words to heart. And ever since then, whenever I pick up my suitcase and head out the door, Mutti’s words echo in my ears, assuring that the heavens are going to watch over me. Although she has moved on to higher grounds, her words still ring true. Back home under the California sun, as I watch seagulls swoop overhead, I remember my many journeys and my Mutti as I lift my gaze into the brilliant blue.

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