Flying the Friendly Skies

I find myself in familiar territory - waiting at an international departure gate at Seatac airport.  Once upon a time the sights, sounds, and smells of an airport got me excited, stirring my sense of adventure.  Nowadays this moment brings a relaxed state of calm.  I know, for better or for worse, I have done all I can to prepare for the adventure before me, in this case, Imprint’s second Thailand tour.  The last few weeks have been a great workout for both the left and right side of my brain.  Time since the holidays has been heady with discovery and satisfying with the ticking off of preparatory tasks.  I’ve been basically ready for this tour for several months.  But on the last few Imprint tours I’ve found the tour can be improved by two things:  scouring all sources of travel information for creative ways to add value to the tour and going over the logistics with a fine tooth comb to make sure no details are left to chance. Satisfying my creative right brain has consisted of perusing guidebooks and searching travel websites, bulletin boards, and rating sites.  What a marvelous world of accessible information we live in.  Although I know all the highlights and major pitfalls of all our tour stops, one can always learn about new angles and even the occasional new attraction.  For example, for the tour I’m embarking upon, Thailand, I learned about a remote, more authentic floating village one can visit near Siem Reap and where the best temple view restaurants can be found in Ayutthaya (a new addition to this tour).  At the same time I learned various bits of information to add to my logistical notes, keeping my left brained need for organization busy and content.  New operating hours for a sight, a reminder to talk to our Thai escort about timing issues on a given day, or getting a restaurant phone number updated can make a real difference in the smooth execution of a tour.  I love dotting these I’s and I like the feeling I’m providing the best experience possible for our clients.  Creating and executing a tour is like a big, complicated jigsaw puzzle.  Challenging and even intimidating at the beginning but immanently satisfying as the pieces fall together to create a coherent whole.  Its fun! So now, as I wait for my flight to be called, the jigsaw is a completed picture and I’m enjoying the image that has emerged.  In about 48 hours when the tour actually begins I’ll have a new set of challenges, frustrations, disappointments, and triumphs - a different brand of stresses and rewards.  But for now, it’s the calm before the storm, I’ve done all I can to prepare for its onset, and I’m enjoying the repose.