When it comes to traveling, the “Whalen Way” can range from spending months meticulously planning the perfect trip to booking flights two hours after considering a destination. Recently, the latter has been more common.
On September 26, a Tuesday, my dad and I finally aligned our chaotic schedules long enough that we were able talk on the phone. He began telling me how he had crafted wooden medals for a run my aunt was hosting for her fiftieth birthday. “And then I’m going to hand them out at the finish line!”
“Wait–are you going to Vermont for this?” I asked. I didn’t remember him telling me about the trip.
He elaborated: “I leave on Thursday.” Pause. “What are your plans this weekend?”
“Nothing, actually.” I was trying to get ahead for the three days of class I would be missing to attend a conference right before midterms.
“Want to come to Vermont?”
A few hours later, after carefully situating flights so I wouldn’t miss any classes, the plan was set. I would leave school at 2:45am on Saturday, drive to AVP (Wilkes/ Scranton), take a puddle-jumper to PHL, and then fly up to Burlington. My dad was to pretend he needed to pick something crucial up at the store (but really pick me up at the airport), I would jump in the car, and we’d arrive on-location approximately 15 minutes before the start of the run.
I’d leave Burlington less than two days later, going through the travel process in reverse: Burlington to PHL, PHL to AVP, AVP to campus. Again, the window to arrive on time was short. If all the flights were on time and traffic cooperated, I would arrive on campus precisely ten minutes before my first class of the day.
The best part? Everything went exactly according to the (last-minute) plan.