Before I had the pleasure of travel for fun, I traveled as a road warrior in pantyhose and girl shoes. For one full year, my territory was western Canada. I wasn’t traveling “lighthearted” yet–work is work after all–but I did learn how to pack light enough to toss my bag from the dock onto a commuter sea-plane.
One of my frequent work destinations was the futuristic, wind-swept city of Calgary, Alberta. As a small town southern California girl, I never got used to stepping outside the airport to bitter winter winds that made my nose hairs freeze.
The night that opened my heart to lighthearted travel occurred in icy February. I arrived late in Calgary and checked into one of those homogeneous high-rise hotels for business travelers like me. The only thing on my mind was the swimming pool in the health center on the top floor. But where was the fluffy white hotel robe that is de rigueur? And why the heck didn’t I pack any flip flops along with my bathing suit? I’d packed only a thin cotton robe.
At ten o’clock, the hotel halls were quiet. I looked right, then left. Nobody. Just the ubiquitous trays of soggy leftover cheeseburgers and fries, tiny salt and pepper shakers, one vase with one limp daisy.
I pushed the elevator button impatiently; this was going to be a quick dash up 5 floors to the pool and back again.
When the door opened, I gasped. The elevator was filled with men carrying briefcases: eight gentlemen in long white robes, with white turbans and wisps of long wiry hair. They looked at me and I looked down, wiggling one bare toe over the other.
Then the oldest of the gentlemen spoke in a kind, but weary voice, like a grandfather: “Come in dear, you will never be safer.”
Susan Troccolo is a writer, gardener, and community volunteer. She travels light and lighthearted whenever she can.