Some of you know that Favorite Husband and I have been on a bit of an adventure. We loaded up my little van — Beverly Hillbillies style — and headed South where we spent our first night with Number One Son who was celebrating a birthday. After wonderful conversation and time with his family, we continued on to Amtrak’s auto train.
This was a new experience for me and, for the most part, their systems were impressive. I say for the most part because due to some signal and track issues (requiring manual intervention) we arrived three hours later than expected. My grandfather was a railroad conductor — somehow I think that made those things more intriguing than annoying. And given the loose nature of our itinerary, it didn’t much matter. More games and more grandkids and more catching up on the news of the day with the big folks before driving to Pittsburgh where we spent more wonderful family and friend time.
From there was a day-long drive to another place of family. It’s where I raised my son. My parents are still there. This was been our longest stop and allowed us to indulge in some breathtaking art and music. Just writing that sentence brings me joy. I mean, seriously, who gets to see Renoir, Picasso, and the rest of the gang before heading out to visit the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra? To borrow a word from composer John Williams (who conducted part of the program) the virtuosity is humbling.
Traveling by van and auto train is much kinder and gentler than keeping airline schedules — especially on a trip with so much scheduling flexibility. Our travel “stuff” (mostly books and clothing) lives in the van. Each of us has a relatively small carry-on bag that we refresh before and after each stop. And that has me thinking about other carry-ons. We all have them.
What do we carry with us? Habits and personality traits. Experiences. Extra pounds. Wisdom. Flaws. Skills, tools and techniques. This trip is making me curious about what we carry with us — especially as they relate to new ventures. And, of course, are we carrying the right things? Or are there some we should ditch?
My good friend and fellow author Nancy Blanton and I have been carefully crafting and developing an author co-op; I find myself calling on all sorts of interesting contents of that beat-up old carry-on — especially the entrepreneurial influences of a family business, training and experience as a therapist, and a work history full of start-ups and turn-arounds. Upon further inspection, my carry-on bag also has some research, training, speaking, and program development skills. And, despite the fact that this trip does not include taking my shoes off for a TSA agent, I’ve even discovered a little bit of humor and creativity stashed inside of those 3-ounce containers inside of zip-up baggies.
So, what’s in your carry-on? What’s vital to your immediate comfort and safety? What kind of baggage is weighing you down? Is there anything you’re going to be able to leave behind? And what are the new things you’re making room for?