Thursday, July 29, 2010

In-between Adventures - LV --> Seattle

"Is it possible to put this night to tune
And move it to you?"

Sometimes the best part of life is the journey and not just the destinations. We tend to remember in groups of collected events. But what happened between those moments? What occurred during the simple seconds? What did the drive look like? How did the wind feel during your stroll down the sidewalk? How comfortable, or uncomfortable, were the chairs in the airport? Patient enjoyment of the in-between moments make travel so much richer. So much more worthwhile.

The Vegas airport held a grandmother and her 7 year old grandson waiting to go to LA for a continuation of their own summer adventure. I attracted their friendship by plugging in the iPad and using it for a couple minutes. I demonstrated a few apps and then ended up sitting with them for the remainder of our wait. He attends a Montessori school in Dallas and travels the world with his grandma every summer. She, well, travels and is an artist of sorts. She was home schooled and so was her daughter/his mother. When I raised an eyebrow she said "well we were living in Brazil at the time and didn't have much of an option" Fair enough. My nomadic childhood did not provide for many options either, so I understood her more than she might have thought.
The three of sat together, watching a movie on his tiny DVD player, and conversing about education and travel. A very sharp 7 year old is a hilarious conversation. He was so earnest. I suppose I was looking forward to solitude, but this was a refreshing and eye-opening alternative.

On the plane a mother with a young son was concerned that they were seated separately, so I gave her my seat and moved one row forward. Causing aisle traffic and a lot of unnecessary movement, I felt as though her discomfort would affect the flight more than me giving up my window seat.
As fate would dictate I ended up with a great seat buddy. An entrepreneur from Shanghai living in Seattle and the father of two Ivy League daughters, the gentleman proved to be a fantastic conversationalist. We discussed the raising of children, public school, and the demise of the economy. So many people recognize the lack of quality in our schools, the missing component of applied learning, and the over-emphasis on higher education in lieu of a trade that strengthens the foundation of the economy. So why the hell has nothing changed? Why are 'non-academic classes' looked down on? Why are trade high schools and colleges not as respected? We talked about our frustrations with the lack of structure and direction at an early age in American schools. However, I did learn that our graduate schools are the best in the world in terms of creativity and accomplishments. The challenge we face as a nation is to close the gap between the very low performing and very high performing. Needless to say it was a long conversation. I also got some world travel tips. My resolve to get out of the country for a summer is getting even stronger.

I found my window seat at the back of the next flight. We were delayed a few minutes due to Biden arriving at LAX and taking his sweet time getting on his plane to depart. Within 24 hours I was in next door proximity to the Pres and Vice Pres. Snazzy.

Arriving in Seattle was easy. I was finally feeling the butterflies of excitement when I got on the light rail - or maybe it was caffeine jitters - either way it was finally sinking in that I was really here.

Don't underestimate the in between. Love the silence and the noise. Be aware. Be conscious. Wonder. Question. Accept.

I am here to dance. To meet people. To live outside the box. See new sights and soak in a city a world away from home. Another push pin on my map of "Been There. Done That. Loved It."

Oh, and Seattle has the best damn coffee. Period.

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