Growing up in a military world, you learn at a very young age to be ready for anything, anytime. Some of my earliest memories are of my parents in a state of urgent panic when my dad was “alerted” in the middle of the night. He was tasked with getting everything he needed and getting to work in a specific amount of time. It was fast and furious. When I was on active duty, I remember those middle-of-the-night alerts. Same rules, but a whole lot more panic when it’s your career on the line.
We also moved around a lot. While the moving wasn’t last-minute, it did teach me a lot about flexibility and readiness. In Nevada, we learned about the dangers of the desert. In Arkansas, we witnessed first hand the fear of a tornado’s destruction. In Mississippi, we sheltered at my dad’s office during a hurricane.
In Germany, my older sister and I were just old enough to attend the family member briefing that came along with moving overseas. We learned about the dangers that accompanied living in a border state with a Cold War enemy and worldwide threat of terrorism. That was in 1975!
After 9/11, I kept a small “go-bag” in my office in the event of a long shelter-in-place emergency or a failure of public transportation. It included comfortable walking shoes, some snacks and drinks and a few other essentials. As far as I know, no one else in my office did that, but the voices in my head reminded me of my lifetime of readiness training, so I was ready.
Today the imminent threat seems small to me, so my sense of preparedness applies more to my sense of spontaneity and wanderlust than worry. But, when we sold our luggage at a recent yard sale with the intent of replacing it, I looked up at the empty closet shelf and panicked just a little. What if an opportunity arises and we need to go somewhere now?
Yesterday, our new luggage arrived. I stopped what I was doing, cut open the boxes and checked everything. A sense of relief washed over me. Whew! I can go anywhere again.
It’s odd how new luggage brings back those old memories, but I am grateful for them and the lessons I learned growing up all over the world. I am filled with joy at the prospect of travel.
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Be ready to hit the road.
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