“Don’t it always seem to go

That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”

Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi

A few days ago, my yet-to-meet travel friend Bob wrote a beautiful piece of advice from his recent travels for a cruisecritic.com trip report. Bob and his wife Jeannie were nearing the end of a Caribbean cruise, and he so eloquently described his reaction to returning to his favorite mode of travel after two years of pandemic-related cancellations and disappointments.

“I think that one thing that has come out of the nightmare that we have all been through, is that it brings into focus how we have to appreciate wonderful moments while we can. I have always enjoyed my time on a cruise ship, now I favor it. If I may be so bold as to offer some advice to those who soon will be returning to cruising, and even to those who already have, it would be that when you set foot upon your ship, pause for a brief moment and soak in the glory of it all.”

Bob’s words, of course, are not exclusive to traveling by cruise ship. When we lose something that we love to do – especially when it is taken away quickly and unexpectedly – it shakes us to our core. Even if we’ve always made sure not to take our precious passions for granted, I believe that deep appreciation for what we have doesn’t truly sink in until it is no longer there. We dream. We make plans. We base our decisions on the now. It’s as if we expect the order of our orbits in the universe to be as predictable as tomorrow’s sunrise.

Sunrise Above the Clouds - the modern postcard
Sunrise Over the Pacific. 2018.

Bob’s call to pause and soak in the glory reminded me of another bit of wisdom from one of the expedition team members on our Antarctica voyage. The night before our first landing on the White Continent, the team briefed us on what to expect when we arrived – Antarctic rules and regulations, zodiac protocol, landing procedures. But for me it was a comment from expedition guide Luqui Bernacchi that hit at the heart of what we were about to experience.

“When you get there, your first impulse will be to start taking photos. But before you do, stop for a minute and look around. Take it all in and be present. You are in Antarctica.”

As the world of travel continues to slowly reopen, I hope we never forget how we felt when those doors to our dreamed-of destinations disappeared in an instant. I hope we treasure every moment of our vaccine-card-carrying, covid-test-taking and periodic-mask-wearing travels. And when we arrive at our destination, I hope we look at where we are with renewed appreciation, profound gratitude and a heaping dose of wonderment.

I hope we pause and soak in the glory of it all.

Antarctica Iceberg - the modern postcard
Antarctica – First View. 2017.

8 Comments

  • Pause and enjoy the glory of travel … whatever the mode. We’re so looking forward to our first cruise after all the pandemic disruptions. Sure, we’ve been traveling even with those disruptions, but it will be our first time back on a ship and I can envision stepping off the gangplank onto the promenade deck and feeling like “we’re home.”

    • Great to hear from you Erin! I’ve been vicariously enjoying your recent travels during these post-pandemic times, and I can completely relate to your excitement about returning to the ocean. Wishing you safe and happy travels and an abundance of moments to soak in the glory😊

  • Mary, I am beyond honored to have inspired your blog entry! Your wonderful blog has served as inspiration to me for a long time now, they are always a delight,and I look forward to continue reading them for many years to come!

    Of course, I meant to say, “now I savor it.” Oh well. Note to self- you may wish to consider proof reading your posts!!!! 🙂

    • Bob, thank you! I was truly inspired by your oh-so wise travel advice and was happy to share it here. Your thoughts are a terrific reminder to pause and soak in the glory whenever we travel, wherever the destination. And whether “savor” or “favor,” the meaning came shining through!

  • We threw caution aside in January during the height of the omicron surge to take the RSSC Explorer from SD to MIA. We spent the week before the cruise visiting family and friends in California with immense joy! PCR tests before the flight, before the cruise, and after the cruise with three antigen tests in between. Swab away, I say! It was a peak experience to be back on board, soaking in the scenery on our veranda, with champagne in hand.

    Jennifer

    PS – we were on a Ponant cruise to Antarctica in 2016. Stunning location. We are booked on a drive by in January. I loved the landings but the atmospherics blew me away.

    • Jennifer, I love your enthusiastic attitude about “swabbing away”! And while no one, I’m certain, is thrilled with all the new travel protocols, the option of not traveling makes every inconvenience worth the effort. I’m happy to hear that you had a wonderful trip as well as a chance to visit family and friends. And yes, Antarctica! It’s still one of my all-time favorite experiences, and I imagine it always will be.

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