The Night Before

Packed and Ready

As I liberally advertised my upcoming vacation around the office, the customary close-in questions revolved around the status of my packing.  In truth, besides itinerary planning, there is little else about which to inquire, so we engage in a casual conversation about the open-face suitcase sandwich in the corner of my bedroom.  I have loosely tossed a handful of gifts for nephews, clothes that I can go without for a few days, and the few things that I fear I will forget if I wait until the final twenty-four hours before travel, so in answer to their inquiries, yes, I have begun packing.

This pre-vacation preparation excites me and I find it to be a self-reward after all the pre-travel housework is finished, almost like vacation foreplay.  And unlike packing to move, which is a punishment to be paid for getting a new home, the process of strategically squeezing my most playful and comfortable outfits into a colorful bag allows me to take a manageable amount of my favorite possessions to a new and fun place.  The thrill of what lies in the near future makes the mundane act of folding clothes deliciously enjoyable.  And besides my hairbrush and the power cables to my laptop, when I crawl in bed for the final night of sleep before my vacation, everything that will accompany me on my adventure is snugly stuffed into the bright bags with miniature locks completely oblivious of what tomorrow holds.  I, however, while equally prepared and ready to depart, lack the patience of the inanimate objects silently standing near the door.


And now I am tucked in my sheets, waiting for the adventure to begin and falling asleep is nearly impossible.  Like a child on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to arrive and listening for reindeer hooves on the roof or sleigh bells outside the window, I think about what the morning will bring.  In my head I am running through the remaining items to be packed and hoping I didn’t forget anything.  I triple check my alarm clock to be sure I set both alarms correctly – a.m., not p.m. – and that I remember the correct flight times.  In my somewhat sleepy head I contemplate the transition from traveling to the airport, passing through security, getting to the gate, boarding the plane, and how much time it all totals from the moment the alarm rings until the plane finally pushes away from the gate.  Perhaps part of my last-minute insomnia is based in worry rather than excitement.

But then I begin to relax and think about what happens once the plane is airborne and I am on my way to my destination.  For weeks, or even months, I have counted backwards to the day when I would visit someplace different, meet someone new, see an amazing site, and have my breath taken away by spectacular settings.  Tomorrow it all begins, and for day after day after tantalizing day, I will absorb beauty, experiences thrills, and revel in the excitement of my months of planning, preparing, and packing.  Now go to sleep, because tomorrow it all begins.

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