Somewhere in my 20’s traveling became a frustrating juggling act of responsibility and money.
Gone was the excitement of my childhood.
But, with a little work and a lot of time spent realigning my perceptions I found my way back to the stories at the heart of every journey.
That doesn’t mean that it is all roses and glory, or that I don’t have a few bumps along the way.
It means that the challenges and the rewards are equally important to the value of the journey and the reasons that we share it.
This is Part 1 of my travel log, about my journey to Hong Kong and everything I tried to remember along the way.
And it all starts with a return to adventure.
Aside from a 30-minute flight delay, our departure from San Francisco’s International Aiport terminal SFO on Cathay Pacific was uneventful and fairly routine. I recorded a short video for my parents and my sister and her family using an app called Marco Polo and then Tracy and I snacked on a yogurt parfait and croissant egg sandwich respectfully.
On board, we loaded movies from the video player mounted in the headrest in front of us and settled in for the long flight. After an early meal service of BBQ pork and thin-sliced beef with tomato with rice, shrimp quinoa salad, and a passionfruit cheesecake, the person in front of me reclined their seat. I
was pinned. My legs are too long for most flights, and about 15 minutes later I had to stand up in the aisle. This happens to me on occasion and I have even written about it before. It’s an unfortunate side effect of air travel that can be an inconvenience if you are taller than your seat. This time I picked up my Ipad and read from a book and then watched a video I had downloaded last night.
Each time someone passed I would slide back into my seat and then slide back out once they had passed. Because of the narrow space between my seat and the reclined seat behind me, my knees, hips, and butt would jostle the person seated in front of me. I don’t know if this was the only reason that they eventually looked up and back to see me standing with my Ipad, moments before I slid back into my seat when the next person approached. But, when I stood back up, they decided to move their seat back to the upright position.
I waited a moment to make sure this was not just a minor adjustment. When the seat stayed for more than 30 seconds I took it as a good sign, and my wife looked up at me with a relieved smile. I replied, “Yayy, I get to sit down again. That’s always a good part of a trip.”
We landed at 6:45 p.m. local time. We exited customs with our bags to find Dean and Andre waiting for us. We exchanged hugs and followed them to the car in the parking garage. The airport is on an island. Dean explained the layout of Hong Kong as we approached the city from a suspension bridge.
About 30 minutes later we stopped for a quick dinner. I couldn’t help but chuckle that we had chosen a Japanese restaurant for our first meal in Hong Kong. But, the local influence was clear from the first bite. Not only were the portions twice the size of a similar order I liked to enjoy back home, but the rich flavor of the noodles and the texture of the chicken were absolutely sublime.
I had taken a moment before our food arrived to step outside. My sinuses had been a mess since our landing. I blew my nose into some crumpled napkins until I could draw a clean breath. I looked up at the night sky and smiled at my good fortune.
Back inside, I could only smile thankfully that we had landed safely, were greeted by family when we did, and soon we would be driving to our new home for the next 10 days. It was the feeling I associated with receiving a gift.
I could only imagine what would happen the next day.
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