I rolled out of bed at 4:30 am to pack for my 8:30 am flight. Barely unpacked from the previous weekend’s trip, I got myself a cup of coffee and started to throw enough clothes into my suitcase for a five day trip to the West Coast. My trips are generally planned well in advance; however, this trip was planned at the last minute due to a family emergency.
Food Network’s Chopped
Chopped is a successful cooking show on the Food Network channel. In the show, four chefs, competing for $10,000, transform mismatched and sometimes bizarre mystery ingredients into a gastronomic work of art in a designated amount of time. I love seeing the creativity and imagination these chefs exhibit as they work magic on a random basket of food.
Sitting on the Washington D.C. metro train waiting for the Reagan Airport stop, I imagined myself on the set of Chopped Travel, and this trip was my mystery basket. Just like the chefs that work their magic to create the appetizer, main, and dessert course, it was up to me to use my imagination to turn this “travel basket” into a globetrotter’s work of art.
My Chopped Travel Mystery Basket Ingredients
- Travel Basket Appetizer round: 2 Days wasted flying across country
- Long layovers
- Delayed Flights
- Travel Basket Main Course Round: Over scheduled agenda
- Tours of multiple assisted living communities
- Five hour drive from San Diego to Las Vegas, Nv.
- Travel Basket Dessert Round: Dealing with a frightened and confused parent.
- Downsizing household goods
- Multiple rounds of Doctors appointments
- Multiple visits to temporary assisted living facility
What separates the winning chefs from those that get”chopped?” Attitude and Imagination!
And the winner is…
Well this travel chopped chef wasn’t going to let a crappy travel basket ruin my chances at championship. I decided that as in life, travel is 1% destination and 99% attitude. I focused on the desirable destination and it’s possibilities. Once my inner super powers of attitude and imagination were engaged, I repurposed the basket.
Chefs, My I present to you my appetizer…
Dining across the country: breakfast & sunrise on east coast, lunch & high noon in the mid-west, and dinner & sunset on west coast.
Why not copy what the jet set crowd does when they fly across the country for a meal. We breakfasted overlooking the Washington Monument, lunched at the world famous Harry Caray Restaurant in Chicago, and dined in Little Italy in San Diego. How many people can say they dined across America in one day!
Chefs, for the entree round, I prepared….
Spending cherished time with family.
Hidden in the bottom of this mystery travel basket was a large container of “US Time”. As we sat on the long flights, we discussed both important and mundane issues. We laughed about our never empty nest and talked about our future after our kids finally move out. In San Diego, we connected with Jon’s brother and partner, ate at two fantastic restaurants and got up to speed on the ex-San Diego Chargers. In Las Vegas, we sat with Jane in her temporary assisted living community and discussing her future.
Chefs, my dessert is….
Learning something new.
Going through this experience I have gained deep insights into the aging process and how to select the right assisted living community. On the long flight home I reflected on all I have to be thankful for, my many blessings, and how to avoid wasting God’s grace and mercy on negativity and pettiness.
Moral to this 2 Laughing Gal post:
When travel or life hands you a mystery basket, repurpose it! We can’t control our circumstances but we can control our attitude. I still believe today is a great day! Life is sweet, attitude is everything, and that no matter how old you are, God still has a purpose for your life.
What do you think? Did I knock this basket of mystery ingredients out of the park?