Reflections on the “Trip of a Lifetime”
Of course Amsterdam is not the only trip I’ve taken in my lifetime and I know that there are going to be many more adventures in my future. But going to Holland was something I wanted since I was 7 — that summer I read The Diary of Anne Frank, learned from my mom that she had visited the actual house, and had some weird fascination with the Dutch side of my heritage. Since then, I wanted to go to Holland.
For most of my years, a trip was discussed but for a bunch of reasons ( college, grad school, money, jobs), it never happened. Sometime in 2011 I decided that I wanted to go for my 30th birthday and we began to plan. In all honesty, up until the moment I purchased the airline tickets in January, I think I still had doubts that it would happen. I bought the tickets on a Friday afternoon while at work and kept saying to my office mate ” this still doesn’t feel real.”
With all that happens at my work in March and April getting the exhibit ready to open, going to Amsterdam at the end of April definitely didn’t feel real still- and it wasn’t until I found myself trying to find walking shoes two weeks before we were set to leave did the idea of the visit seem more like a actual thing that was about to happen. In the week or so before I left, everyone kept asking if I was excited and I think I let people down with my “sort of” response. It wasn’t that I was NOT excited- it was more that I was trying to temper my enthusiasm and feelings about the whole thing. This was something I wanted for so long and it felt slightly unreal that this huge goal was finally happening. It was an amazement on many levels- I accomplished something I said I was going to do- not just in that I said I wanted something when I was 7 and it finally happened when I was 30, but that I had budgeted and made plans so that I could take the trip.
Part of my coolness about getting ready for the trip was also that I did not want Amsterdam to disappoint me after wanting something for so long. Of course, the likelihood of that happening was small, but like so many other things in life, I worry or get anxious about something so that the feeling of relief ends up being so great. It’s a strange place in my brain when it comes to anticipation and achieving goals, to say the least.
Of course, in the end, Amsterdam was wonderful, having a week with my mom was an extraordinary treat, and doing all the things I wanted to do for so long met my expectations and surprised me too.