- Justin Scheman, Contestant, THE AMAZING RACE
It was no different for my wife and me. We had often dreamed of a trip to Europe, starting, of course, with Paris. It was something we both shared as a destination, with both of us having childhood aspirations of visiting that most special of places. In my case, it was fostered by films such as AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, or FUNNY FACE. In her case it had been a long-time dream of her mother's to get to see the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine.
Sadly, by the time my wife and I managed to cross the pond, my mother-in-law had passed away. This made for a bittersweet moment when we paused during our first night on the town to call her father from a pay phone (remember those?).
|The Musee D'Orsay|
He was, of course, supremely happy for us, and it was a call my wife would come to appreciate far more than we had even imagined.
It was, as we were to learn, her final conversation with him.
The next evening we tried again and learned the awful truth -- that one day after that perfect call from his daughter -- he had passed away from a long-simmering heart condition. We had traveled after assurances he had plenty of time left, but sadly fate had different plans.
We frantically called some relatives, finally reaching my cousin Linda, a travel agent for AmEx, and she saved the day by booking us quick passage back to the States. Not an easy task when you're in a small town in back country France, and you don't speak the language beyond a handful of phrases from the guidebooks.
But the loss of her father was a deep blow. But in its own way it reinforced the need for adventure in our lives.
A year further on we made plans and returned to France to complete our journey, plus touches of a couple of other countries. It would be another decade before we returned to Europe, but the memories of that first trip -- the good and the bad -- will be with us for a lifetime.
And it reinforced the message of urgency. The shared adventure. Things happen, and often we are bogged down in the daily stuff. Travel breaks that up.
Then, three years ago, the message became more important than ever.
(to be continued. THE IMPORTANCE OF URGENCY: OVERDRIVE)
|Visiting the Eiffel Tower for the first time|