The Trials and Joys of Traveling on the Holidays

 

I woke up this morning to bright sunshine. Bypassing the coffee pot, I stepped out onto the patio and checked the thermometer. It was cold, 39o, but it felt warmer with the sun shining. Coming back inside, the first thing I did was check the weather app on my phone. Seventy-nine degrees in the Bahamas. Nice!

In a few days my daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren, and I will be in Nassau, soaking up the sun and swimming in the sea.

We’re not there yet, though. I checked one more app on my phone: maps. If I left home right now, it tells me, I’d arrive at the airport in 58 minutes. I’m writing this on the Wednesday before Christmas, though, I won’t be leaving until December 24th. Anything can happen on I-5 or at the airport during the Christmas holiday.

My sister’s near miss taught me that. She had a ticket for the train from Seattle to Portland today. Today, not Monday. Thank goodness! On Monday, Amtrak was trying out a new route. For some as yet unknown reason, the train came around a corner going 50 mph over the speed limit and derailed, many of the cars falling off the overpass onto I-5 or into the woods. You’ve probably seen pictures of the train car that was left dangling. It was a huge and terrible accident, fatal for three passengers.

As of this writing, the southbound lanes of I-5 are still closed. My sister has decided to pass on the train. Instead she’s going to bake cookies today and hope the freeway will be open tomorrow.

Most years, my kids and their families come here for Christmas. They fly in from all over the country. Almost every year their travel has been uneventful. The only exception I can remember was one year when it snowed so hard we couldn’t get out of our street.

When you travel during the holidays, you just have to have faith that everything will work out. And I do have faith that it will.

So now I’m going to unzip my suitcase and fill it up with sundresses, shorts, T-shirts, two bathing suits, and a big tube of sunscreen. The beach is calling.

About Nicki Chen

About Nicki Chen Nicki Chen is a writer living in Edmonds, WA. Her first novel, Tiger Tail Soup, is set in China during the Japanese invasion and occupation, 1937-1945. She's working on a second novel set in Vanuatu, a South Pacific nation where she and her late husband lived in the early '90s.
family, holidays, vacations , , ,

31 comments


  1. Travel safe…and easily…and have a wonderful time 🙂




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  2. I’m happy to hear your sister is safe, Nicki. Have a wonderful holiday with your family. Enjoy the warmth!




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  3. Merry Christmas, Nicki! So glad your sister didn’t take that train!




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  4. I remember one trip to Florida during the winter from the very cold Philadelphia area. Back then you did curbside bag checks and everything was quick and easy. (Remember those days?) However, the Gulf War had just started. Curbside checking was eliminated and they weren’t prepared for everyone to check in at the counter. The line wound around and outside down the pavement. There were people in flip flops and shorts, prepared for Florida, waiting outside in 25 degree weather. Fortunately I never traveled that lightly and I had jeans and a jacket. We almost missed our flight too. They started plucking people out of the line as their take off times were coming up. This was long before today’s security checks. Now I travel prepared for anything including an apocalypse.




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    • Yes, I remember the days of curbside bag checks. I even remember the days of being served a full dinner and lying down on a couple of empty seats. Once I flew from Manila to LA, and when I arrived, my connecting flight was unavailable because while I was in the air, the airline had gone out of business. I don’t even remember the name of the airline now.




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  5. ENJOY–the sun and surf, but especially your kids and grand-kids. Have a wonderful holiday together!




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  6. Travel is always an adventure. This year we’re not traveling. It’s easier, but it’s sad, too. I miss my white Christmases!

    I expect to see pictures of bright sunshine and tropical waters soon.




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    • Yes, I’ll be glad to share some pictures of sunshine and tropical water.

      I’m just happy it’s not snowing or planning to snow here this week. That way I won’t have any trouble driving to the airport. In Western Washington, winter snow is always hit and miss. We can’t count on it coinciding with Christmas.




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  7. Eric Bruckbauer

    It’s really scary when I think about the possibility of Mom being on that train. There are too many times when it seems like my loved ones missed being the middle of a tragedy only by a subtle shift in circumstance. Really reminds you to cherish every day.




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  8. Have FUN in the SUN, Nicki! And safe travels to you all!




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  9. Have fun! I will also be heading to warmer climates for my holidays, but unfortunately there’s still almost 2 more months for that!




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    • Keep warm in the meantime, Marta. This will be one of the few times for me to have a sunny vacation in winter. We don’t have much snow here, but it’s cold and it rains a lot in the winter. It will be nice to have a break.




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  10. Very good luck with the travelling, and have a lovely time




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  11. Have fun in the warm weather, Nicki! Beach sounds very appealing – not just sun and warmth but great views too. You’d definitely want everything to work out, from travel to bringing the right stuff, the weather, food and more. Hopefully it all is a great trip for you and a break away from the usual. Here in Australia many of us have a one week break off until the New Year. Very much welcomed. Happy holidays 🙂




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    • I hope you’ll have a pleasant Christmas/year-end break. The one-week break isn’t common here, but my children always save up vacation days. I’m grateful for that. Happy holidays.




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  12. Enjoy the treat, Nicki! Happy travels and happy stay!




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  13. Merry Christmas,and have a wonderful trip.




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  14. Nicki, have a (or probably having) a wonderful time and hope the travels went well. I always have a sense of trepidation before setting off…been caught out in bad snowstorms during winter, or strikes at airports in summer! Fingers crossed all went smoothly for you.




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  15. I hope you had a wonderful time. Whenever one of these disastrous accidents takes place you think ‘thank God me and mine weren’t involved’ but you always know that someone’s nearest and dearest were. I hope life flows smoothly in 2018, Nicki. :)) 🙂




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  16. We did have a wonderful time. Despite the distance between Seattle and the Bahamas and the unseasonably cold weather in much of the United States, our travel was uneventful and our time in the Bahamas warm and memorable. Wishing you all the best in 2018.




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