ITíS MY TURN
TO SEE THE WORLD
A couple of weeks ago, the phone rang. It was my 25
year old daughter calling. "Got any miles?" she asked.
"Excuse me?" I replied. "How about a
hello or a how are you, dad?"
"Oh, sorry. How are you? Does Mom have any
It was hopeless. She was not to be denied. The travel
bug had hit once again and she was determined to find a way to satisfy her
addiction. Our hard-earned airline miles were about to be obliterated.
"Where now?" I asked. "Antartica? I think thatís
the only place you havenít been to yet."
"Very funny. As a matter of fact, I want to go to
Thailand and visit my friend Brian. Heís working there so Iíll have a
free place to stay."
She had just finished her first year as a fifth grade teacher
in East Palo Alto. It had been tough, and she was milking it. She was a
big believer in the three best things about being a teacher---June, July
"Iíve got the last two weeks of July with
nothing to do," she explained. "I might as well go to
That made perfect sense. To her. She had just returned
from a wedding in Boston, and we had a family trip to Cancun planned for a
week in early August. God forbid that she had nowhere to go for a couple
She sensed my hesitation. "I use your miles, Iíve
got a free place to stay and Iíll spend far less in Thailand than I
would hanging around here. Everything is cheaper there."
Sheís been very successful with that argument. When
she was a Junior in college, she came to me with a proposal for the
Semester at Sea program. She would go around the world, visiting 11
countries, and get credit for a full semester of classes.
I was appalled at the extravagance, until she explained that
the cost was LESS than the tuition I would be paying for the semester at
her private college. Hard to argue with that logic.
So off she went, visiting countries that my wife and I could
only dream about someday seeing. Cuba, Brazil, South Africa, India,
Vietnam, China and a few others along the way. She was 21 years old and
she had seen more of the world than I had.
When she graduated and headed off to New Zealand and
Australia for six months, I was seriously wondering what was wrong with
the picture. I was entering my 50ís and she was a stinking kid in her 20ís
with a passport full of stamps. Thatís not right.
"Iíve never been to Thailand," I said, perhaps a
bit too pathetically. "Iíd like to go someday."
"Come with me," she replied. "Iím sure you
have enough miles for all of us."
Actually, she didnít say that. I made it up. Her actual
reply was that she knew I wasnít going anywhere until her brother
graduated from high school next year, so she might as well use the miles Iíd
accumulated on my Mileage Plus business credit card.
"Actually, I already checked," she said. "You
have plenty of miles and itís only 60,000 for my round trip ticket to
Bangkok. They might expire if I donít use them."
Free airfare, free place to stay, cheaper nights out than at
home---how do you say no? "All right, you can check into availability
and then weíll decide."
"I already did," she said, a bit too smugly.
"Iím booked for next Friday. Thanks, Daddy."
Another country that she beat me to. When she returns,
Iíll see the pictures, Iíll hear the stories, Iíll ooh and ahh at
her adventures. And in the back of my mind, Iíll wonder whether it
shouldnít be the other way around.
On the other hand, Iíve got to admire her spunk. Sheís
young, single and adventurous. One of these days she might be married with
kids, with a husband who doesnít have 2 Ĺ months off, and sheíll be
watching as her elderly parents embark on another three month trip to
And rest assured, I will find a country, someplace,
somewhere, that she hasnít visited. And then she will have to sit and
listen to my stories and look at my pictures.
Finland. Thatís the ticket. Iíve got to get to Finland
before she does.