By Elizabeth Goetsch
When I was 10 years old, my Girl Scout troop went to Mount Rushmore. I said “went” but the trip involved so much more. We had to plan the trip (each step of planning fueled my anticipation!). We had to read and research about where we were going (at a library, as nobody in my troop had heard of the Internet then). We had to raise money for the trip (some days I went to bed saying “would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?”). When the time came, we had to pack for the trip.
Packing proved the most tangible form of anticipation for me. I wrote packing lists. For my birthday, I got a purple suitcase and plastic, neon toiletries set. I practiced packing the way our Girl Scout leaders taught us during one of our meetings (I still roll my clothes like I learned at that meeting). At one point, my father pointed out that if my bag was packed for the whole week before I left, how was I going to wear my clothes during the week? Nothing could diffuse my excitement!
The trip passed by in a fun-filled blur. Two decades later, the only tangible things I have left from that visit are a faded photograph of a scrawny girl wearing a baseball cap and fanny pack standing in front of that iconic carved mountain, and a commemorative coin from Mount Rushmore. I keep that coin in my jewelry box. But those two tangible things from my trip do not compare to the intangible influences that trip had on me.
That trip lit my fire, inspired my desire to travel. I felt special that I got to see new things. I saw real bison on the car trip! I saw historic towns! I saw that iconic carved mountain! What else is out there to see? At that time, my world consisted of going to school, doing homework, playing in the neighborhood, and going to Girl Scout meetings. Traveling so early in my life opened my eyes to worlds beyond my own. It granted me permission to set bigger goals for myself. It provided me with opportunities to start embracing my journey of growing up.
Now I am a Tauck Director for Tauck Bridges trips, a multi-generational way for families to tour. I feel I relate to my young travelers because of my early traveling experience. No, I don’t get to witness my young travelers pack a week early in their own anticipation (although, I have had family members tell me that it does happen!). However, I do get to share with them new worlds beyond their own. I love to hear my young travelers say “oh, wow!” as they see amazing places. When families discover places together, they may feel inspired, but many times they don’t realize that they inspire me, too. The world is filled with amazing places that we get to discover! That’s the essence of travel! Here I am, two decades later, and when I pack my suitcase I still get giddy with anticipation for my trips.
What fuels your anticipation?