Travel Surprise

Thursday, March 15, 2012

For those of you that don’t know me, I’m a bit of a planner.  More like an obsessive planner.  I want to know all the details of where I’m going, where I’m staying, how I’m getting there, etc.  I’ve been known to type up an itinerary for personal travel too.  Which day are we going to Disney World and which day to the beach?  What are the rental car hotel and airline confirmation numbers?  I’m also not a big fan of when plans change unexpectedly…

Just ask my sister about her visit to me in El Paso a few years back, I had typed up two pages for how to navigate the Dallas airport on her own.  Make fun all you want, but the details count when something goes wrong - like when my passport was stolen in Italy; I had a copy of everything in every bag, didn't have to scramble to get the details I needed.

My life of planning means that there are few surprises; but when I am surprised, I am floored.  Two weeks ago, I got an awesome surprise.  But let’s rewind…

I had scheduled a trip to the Chicago area for business meetings for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  The formula of a deep resistance towards all things O’Hare & TSA related plus my hybrid car equaled the decision to drive.  At a little over 5½ hours, it would be easy to drive over Monday and return home Friday without another run in with the rent-a-cops at TSA.  Nor a delay from United Airlines. 

Monday morning, I ran a few errands and hit the road around noon.  The drive was a bit boring, but the NPR podcasts on my iPod made the trip a breeze.  Checked in to my hotel by 6pm and had dinner at one of my favorite Indian restaurants.  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday days were full of meetings  and in the evenings we enjoyed dinner and bonding together as our newly formed team. 

After our last meeting Thursday, my teammate Sandy and I wanted to check out the Blick art supply store when my phone rang.  It was my sweet boyfriend inquiring to what my plans were for the evening, and then he told me he had a surprise for me.  He was in Chicago! 

He rode the Megabus to Chicago, and then a train out to the suburbs where I was staying and then a local bus that put him about a mile from my hotel.  He spent nearly 10 hours traveling to surprise me! 

Sandy and I quickly found him and we got to spend the evening together, enjoying dinner at Cooper’s Hawk, a great restaurant and winery with my friend Judy from Nevada.  It was nice to have an unexpected evening together – neither of us worried about work or commitments the following day.

Friday morning we went to breakfast with my teammates Greg & Sandy before taking Sandy to the airport for her long day of travel home to Idaho.  We wandered around Ikea and an outlet mall before heading back to Des Moines.  Of course, we stopped for White Castle cheeseburgers as we waited for the unexpected sleet to pass and took our time down 88 to I-80 through the snow, listening to more NPR and enjoying each other’s company.

I was truly surprised and delighted by his visit, appreciative of the plans he made and grateful that my plans of driving home alone on a Friday afternoon were bust. 

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