While this sounds like a no-brainer, it wasn’t an easy decision. Generally, Dan and I prefer to travel solo, we eschew Disney-esque vacations and while we really like the friends that invited us, we didn’t know each other that well. Oh, and did I mention the package included the hotel room—ONE hotel room. (Adding an extra room would have cost four times more than the entire package!)
After much back and forth, we agreed to approach the whole thing like an upscale college road trip. Plus, as further enticement, we selected a weekend that coincided with my birthday. That tipped the scales. We said, “Yes.”
However, as the trip neared, I was filled with ambivalence and wondered if we made the right choice. Plus, getting the kids settled and the house in order for our departure left me exhausted and frazzled.
But, at 6:00 a.m. last Thursday, our friends picked us up for the airport and our adventure was officially under way. Amazingly, instead of everything going wrong that could go wrong with our travel, everything went right. Rush hour traffic, plane departures, baggage handling, shuttle pickup, even the weather conspired WITH us. In no time at all, my concerns and stresses melted away. (Thank you God, for these little gifts.)
For four days we relaxed in the idyllic “bubble” of Universal. Our reality became a fantasy where everything is planned, organized, arranged, created, managed, manicured and maintained. From the “fossils” in the rock walls, lush landscaping, meandering waterways and realistically themed hotels to the state-of-the-art rides, over-the-top special effects, bustling “city” and even the song selections at the karaoke bar, it is all carefully purposed and controlled by an invisible hand for optimal enjoyment.
Best of all, in our land of pretend, there was no waiting in line for the rides! By flashing our room keys, we gained VIP access and passed to the front of the line every time!
Even the room concerns worked themselves out. We quickly discovered that we were all quite compatible traveling companions.
But, the highlight of the trip was our nights at the karaoke club that featured a live band and a charismatic emcee. Our friends, both musicians, relished the opportunity to sing on stage, while Dan and I were perfectly happy to watch. (Note: even in this land of make-believe, bad singing is still bad singing!). However, not content to let her and her husband’s terrific singing represent our group, our friend urged us, “C’mon! You can do it!” Since I was immovable (see “note” above), she focused on Dan. Lulled by the security of the “bubble,” he reluctantly consented.
So that is how as the clock struck midnight, ushering in my birthday, my reserved, quiet, sit-back-and-watch husband was on the stage with a rock band, belting out “Mustang Sally” to a standing-room only crowd! And to all of our surprise, he was really, really good! (Thank you, Dan for the unexpected present!)
So now we’re back home and fantasy has crashed into reality bursting our idyllic bubble. Thankfully the memories travel well.
Here’re some things that I learned:
1. You are never too old for an adventure.
2. Sometimes when you give a little you get a lot. Dan and I never would have intentionally planned this type of vacation. But, by taking a chance and giving up some control and privacy, we experienced one of the most fun vacations we’ve ever had.
3. When you escape from reality, sometimes you experience an even greater reality. It took the safety of the “bubble” for Dan to travel so far off his map to sing on stage. We are all capable of so much more than we think we are.
4. Be open to new experiences. (Like sitting front and center, in the “poncho section” for the Blue Man Group!)
5. Once in a while, make a big deal out of your birthday.
6. Make time to get away with your spouse. (Even if you send the kids to
grandma’s for the weekend and stay home.)
7. Don’t ride the Dueling Dragons roller coaster twice in a row. Enough said.
8. Never underestimate the amazing ways God can bless and surprise you.
9. And my final bit of insight…No matter what the cost, watching your husband perform like a rock star is priceless!