by, 3rd June 2014 at 05:36 PM (349 Views)
Pack my suitcase, get the new shoes laced and ready, pick out a nice set of clothes for the flight… there's a lot to do before BotCon this year. I'm already ahead of schedule, as I've found my laptop's carrier and my camera, packed my suitcase and gotten my outfit ready. I just need a few more things, like snacks and toiletries, as well as packing Prime's suitcase and so forth and I'll be done.
I wasn't always so fortunate.
When I was 14--and was finally allowed to roam the local mall without parental supervision--one of my favorite stores happened to be a little Hallmark card shop that was near the Kay Bee Toys. There were cards, exclusive Christmas ornaments during the holiday season, stickers and my favorite, blank books and journals. These weren't like the journals you would see at a local K-Mart. These had ornate covers and gold stampings, heavy pages that were edged in gold foil. They looked beautiful and smelled like luxury. But among these were small blank books in various colors, all of them bearing the simple title Travel Journal.
I was automatically drawn to these books. They were tiny and utterly perfect, much like the small sample or travel sized shampoos and conditioners that sometimes came in the mail or could be found at a drugstore. They made me wish that I had some where to go, that I had to urgently pack a suitcase as I might miss my bus out of town. They made me wish that I could say, "In a few weeks, I'll be going to (destination). I can't wait!" Those little sample bottles, that perfectly small--toy-like in its appearance, really--travel journal always awakened an odd longing in me. How I wanted to buy one of those little books and tuck it away, only to fill its pages with the ink of a special pen, bought specifically for the task, with the adventures of the day. There were blank pages for an itinerary, small pockets for receipts and more blank pages for travel notes. I could imagine it, the pages filled with notes like, "Boarded the flight for Florida; Disney World, here I come!" or "Just landed in Orlando and it's amazing!" or "Had a couple of slices of pizza at a local place. You wouldn't believe the flavor!"
Sadly, I never had the money, or the chance, to buy one of those perfect little books. And although I've owned numerous special pens, not one of them has been used to fill out a travel journal.
In the last decade or so, I've been blessed with the ability to travel. I've been able to visit more cities and states in the last 15 years than I have for most of my life. Most of those cities were holding a BotCon, while others had a get-together or convention of some sort. In the last nine or so years, I've had the opportunity to take in the sights of those cities and see what they've had to offer thanks to the BotCon tours that our now offered every year. Because of these tours, I've been to the Hollywood Bowl, seen whales breaching in the Atlantic, wandered a toy shop that offered vintage items, stood on the field in the Dallas Cowboys' stadium, seen robots building cars, been inside a distillery, and walked the docks of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. This year, I'll be touring the city of Los Angeles with my best friend, DA. I can barely wait.
It goes without saying that this has been a huge departure from my originally extremely sheltered life. I wasn't allowed to go off and travel by myself terribly often, let alone go to another city or town. I was always watched, always kept close, always within my mother's reach, so much so that I really didn't get a chance to spread my wings. I was stunted for a very long time. I was so stunted that after I had moved out and come to Wisconsin, I'd thank Prime for letting me head out on my own for a day. His response was always the same, "I'm not your lord and master." Some things had become a bit ingrained, I guess.
Now I have that opportunity. The opportunity to travel, see things that I normally wouldn't and weave them into my life, make them a part of me, heart and soul. Needless to say, I won't be letting it go to waste. BotCon is from June 19th to the 20th in Pasadena, California this year. If you get the chance to go, I hope to see you there.
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