There is an excitement to traveling, to visting a place that you cannot claim as your own. The anticipation of not knowing what to expect is sometimes better than the trip itself.

My first far away trip was to Hawaii, when I was 8 years old. My family and I left on Christmas Day. I’d been on an airplane before, but never that far or for that long. This was a time when flying was still cool, when girls wanted to be like the glamorous and kind stewardesses (or at least I did) and the plane ride was part of the adventure, not just a means to an end.

On this trip, the dashing pilot came out of his cabin and gave my brother and I American Airlines wings. That was cool.

Hawaii was magical. We were surrounded by lush island greenery, which was only heightened by the occasional rainstorm.  Our hotel was steps from the beach; I didn’t know you could live so close to the sand and the calming sound of the waves. There I discovered the joy of room service. You just dialed a number, told the person what you wanted and they brought it to your door!  Hamburgers and french fries had never tasted so good. It made me feel like a rock star.

Magical places transport us from our every day lives. They make us see clearly that there are things outside of our world – the classroom, the carpool, the cubicle – that are worth appreciating.

They also underscore the value of the small things in life. Hawaii was a long, fun trip, but I was just as happy when I got home.

There is magic in mom cooking your meals, even if she made what she wanted – not whatever you ordered up – and you had to go to the dinner table to get it instead of it being brought to your room on a silver tray and a cloth-covered table.

Magic lives in your own well-worn bed with its cool sheets and familiar lumps that comfort a tired back at the end of a long day.

And there is magic in making your friends envious as you tell tales of the New Year’s Eve fireworks that stained the Hawaiian sand red, something enchanting that you would never, ever have expected.

There is magic in home.

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