In 2008, in the earliest record of travel that exists on the great wide world of Facebook, the Konig- Gidseg's took a train to NYC. This was odd in very many ways. Besides the fact that our family did not travel, almost as a rule, my mother recently had recovered from open heart surgery, which made our decision to take a 2 week trip cross country even odder, but take one we did.
On the fancy train cabins we would strap ourselves in with a net to sleep on the top bunk. My mother made friends up and down the aisles, adding them all to her email newsletter to receive information about her art ( whether they liked art or not.) We stayed on the 11th floor of a YMCA near Central Park, dragging our immense amount of luggage through tiny corridors into tiny elevators, into our tiny room. We ate repeatedly at the same places.
We saw my uncle for lunch and my cousin for dinner, people we had met briefly once as children, but corresponded with throughout our lives. An extended cousin in Brooklyn. My mother's friend in a high rise room with glass floor to ceiling windows. My great aunt was sick and we could not see.
I spent NYE on the rooftop of a building with strangers from all over the world and had my purse stolen on the subway by a handsome man with quick fingers (a story I would retell for many years to come.) My sister took pictures. We laughed a lot.
There are pictures of me posing with strangers long forgotten, of jokes I can't remember and places that I couldn't name.
I have always struggled with memory.
But here- the proof. The view from the YMCA. The time it snowed on the way home in the train and a passenger popped out secret champagne and we toasted each other as the snow fell in between the cars. The diner employee who proclaimed his love for me each night as we left the build your own pasta restaurant. I would return home and months later, meet my husband, begin a new life.
It's online, these memories, living alongside pictures of all the journeys that followed. But this one family trip remains recorded. Living quietly in 5 photo albums buried deep within my Facebook profile. A reminder that even those that don't travel can try. And that usually, the long way is worth it.