So shall I just begin at the beginning then? You can take the tour with me just as if I had taken my laptop and blogged every night while I was away. Instead I carried a four-dollar notebook from Target. It’s sleek gray just like the sleek burgundy planner I carry most of the time, only this one just has pages and pages for notes. I taped my itinerary inside, complete with phone numbers and addresses in case I ever got lost from the group and needed to hail a cab to the next destination. I confess, a little part of me hoped that would happen just once.
And you know what’s weird? I’d been dreaming of this trip for weeks. I’d heard all the negative parts – the fact that we would have to rush through a lot of it, that the goal was just to get a look at some of the places we send people and not so much to suck the marrow from them – stuff like that. And yet I was only happy. Unmixedly thrilled and determined to enjoy every moment.
But when I got in the car on the way to the airport, I was nervous instead. I kept running through it all in my head, “Underwear? Yes. ID? Oh my gosh, do I have my ID? Yes. Makeup? Yes. Underwear? Oh my gosh do I have underwear…” And so it went. I was also certain my bag would weigh too much, that someone would have flagged me as an international threat, that I would get a disease from the airport floor to my bare feet when I removed my shoes, and that everything would cost way more than I had planned and I wouldn’t have nearly enough cash.
Ug, right? I mean, CHILL. Once we got to the airport and everything went so smoothly that I’m trying to figure out why there are so many jokes about airport security, I was fine. And not just fine, I was giddy. I adore that feeling when the plane takes off and it speeds up so much that I’m pretty much terrified until it lifts off the ground, dips a little, and then takes off at a soar.
This was our first attraction, Saturday morning. It’s called The Awakening, which I find extremely fitting, because I so was. Awakening to the big, wide world. Awakening to the beauty of Washington D.C., which I had only understood in theory before. Awakening again to the beautiful, wonderful thrill of stepping outside routine and taking a brand new look at life from somewhere higher (or at least, from somewhere else).
The Awakening is a part of National Harbor, an up-and-comer in the touristy world, and a beautiful waterfront landing with shops and artwork and restaurants. I hadn’t even entered D.C. when I took this picture. The trip had just begun.