An ancient Chinese philosopher and writer named Laozi once wrote, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I believe that this saying does not only refer to actual travels but to dreams, goals and aspirations in our lives. A call-to-action to take the initial step in everything we face, particularly the most difficult and uncertain task or venture. This post, A Journey of More Than a Thousand Miles: Coming to Boston, USA, was a fine illustration.
Somehow when we make the first step, we become confident and motivated that whatever challenges get in the way will make us strong and strive more in order to be successful in life.
Apropos to this and as my first blog post, I see fit to set the tone by recalling a holiday which I considered as a milestone for my family. It was meaningful and the experiences made memories that we’ll never forget for the rest of our lives due to an unexpected turn of events.
A high school classmate and friend who had moved to Boston, USA with his family whom I have no contact for three decades found me on Facebook. He invited us to stay in his place should we travel to the US. We have been planning to visit a niece and her family in California on the West Coast but kept putting it off.
Finally, we mustered enough courage and took the first step to realise our plan. After our ESTA application got approved, I immediately booked flights to Boston and Los Angeles. The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. We were naturally excited; not only it was our first trip into the “land of the free and the home of the brave!” It was about reconnecting with loved ones and friends whom we have not seen in ages.
So, the journey of more than a thousand miles started at London’s Heathrow Airport aboard an Air Canada plane on April Fools’ Day of 2010. This was for real and I’m not taking anyone for a ride (excuse the pun). We’re bound for Boston and once the plane was airborne, I tried to quiz myself on things I knew about our destination.
First and foremost, Boston is located on the East Coast and the capital of the state of Massachusetts. As a sports and music lover, what came to mind was the legendary Boston Celtics basketball team. Also the famous foot race, Boston Marathon. Next were bands that have their origins in the city – Boston, well-known for its hit “More than a Feeling” and The Cars, a new wave band in the late 1970s. I’ve heard of Boston Tea Party but don’t know what it’s all about.
I guess that two of the world’s best universities, Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), were located in Boston or somewhere near. I have seen a TV documentary on The Big Dig, a massive road infrastructure project which was undertaken to improve Boston’s horrendous traffic situation. Apart from the foregoing, I have no further knowledge of the city.
After over six hours of flying across the Atlantic Ocean, we landed for a stop-over at Stanfield International Airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada. We dealt with the US Customs and Border Protection in the airport for our entry to the US. The whole process went smoothly and a bit later, we boarded a smaller plane for our final destination.
It was a breeze upon arrival at Boston’s Logan Airport as we do not have to deal with Immigration anymore. I rang my friend to pick us up. The waiting game began and a tad later than expected, a shiny white Merc pulled over near us. It was my friend. He was apologetic for making us wait due to traffic. President Obama was in town and apparently had just left when we arrived.
My friend’s house was located in a quiet southernmost residential neighbourhood of Boston. I have no recollection whatsoever of how we got there. A better part of the drive home was spent on catching up with each other. Reaching home, we were warmly welcomed by his family as introductions were made.
It was a wonderful time recalling our high school memories over dinner. We were naive and full of youthful exuberance then. The transition from innocent kids into young adults was an important phase of our lives. We remember with fondness the naughty antics and mischiefs we did as young lads then.
So many people have come and gone
Their faces fade as the years go by
Yet I still recall as I wander on
As clear as the sun in the summer sky
From Boston’s “More Than a Feeling”
Before retiring for the night, we went over the itinerary we had agreed beforehand for the days ahead. A whole day tour of Boston for tomorrow.
Then my friend will drive us down to visit friends in New Jersey and to tour New York and Washington, DC. All for the succeeding three days. We can’t wait.
Have you been to Boston? How was your experience like? If you haven’t been, do you plan to visit someday and which sights do you want to see?
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