Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day 8: The Aftermath

After the wedding ceremony, Keith and I stood and looked at the sun setting over the ocean. Eleanor was asleep on Karen's shoulder nearby.

"I think it's been worth it," Keith affirmed. (Of course, this was before the whole passing-out incident.)

I nodded. "I'm glad you think so," I said. "I'm not convinced yet."

We've been home for a few weeks now. During the trip and after, I've been asking myself that pointless, unanswerable, yet unavoidable question: If given the chance, would I do it over again?

I do think that it was the right decision to go. We wanted to be there for the wedding, and I also want Eleanor to experience travel throughout her life. I firmly believe that travel both makes us appreciate what we have, and what can be. It keeps us from getting too complacent in the quotidian details of our lives, and also reminds us of the excitement of both new experiences and meeting challenges head-on.

As a child, I traveled around the country with my family. Not counting Canada (because it's closer to my hometown that a majority of the U.S. and because it doesn't present the culture shock that I associate with foreign travel), I didn't travel abroad until I was 21. I loved our family trips, and I look forward to doing many more with Keith and Eleanor. But if I can, I also want to give her the opportunity to experience traveling abroad at a younger age. I hope that, through travel (among other things), she will see her world without boundaries, and her potential as limitless.

So yes, I am glad we chose to travel with her. I would do it again, and I do hope to do it again. Conversely, this experience actually makes me eager to travel again with Eleanor. I want to prove to myself that traveling with Eleanor isn't always going to be so disastrous. It was just bad luck.

In the meantime, we have a lot of good memories and entertaining small talk from our trip. I like to imagine we'll go back to Costa Rica someday. Maybe in five years, or 10 years, or maybe for Keith's and my 25th wedding anniversary. Whenever it may be, we'll go back and have a fabulous, illness-free time. And we'll laugh about the misadventures of our first trip to Costa Rica, but also talk about the rich experiences and new ideas that travel has given us.

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