When my daughter first came home to tell me about the trip, she was super excited that she may have the chance to go on this adventure. She wasn’t sure if she should apply to go or not, but I encouraged her to put in her application, and if she was one of the lucky ones to get chosen, we would figure out a way to make it work.
SMLS sent 12 girls and RSGC 4 boys on this trip. My daughter was one of them. Closer to the trip, after hearing about the airport in Paro, some trepidation set in for all of us. Was this going to be the trip of a lifetime, and would it be worth the risks involved. A quick google search lead to articles of only 8 pilots being skilled enough to land in Paro due to the high altitude, and the mountains. I had a choice here, I could panic, or I could be pragmatic. I decided that if only 8 pilots were skilled enough to do this, then I guess we were lucky enough that one of the top pilots in the world would be flying our children in.
The drop off at Pearson was not easy, but the excitement in the group was tangible enough to make it doable. I have never been so far away from my daughter before, how would she cope with the challenges ahead of her? Did I trust the people she is going with enough to guide her when she needs guidance and to back off and let her figure it out when she needs space?
I got home and back to google and flight tracking sites. I tracked her flight as often as I could. East, over Greenland, Russia, China and to Hong Kong. Then the flight to Bangkok, and then to Paro… hold on, that flight has a stop over and no tracking on any of the websites I looked at. It was time to let go.
Over the course of the next 12 days I have been more than impressed with the communication between the leaders on this trip and us, the parents stuck at home. I have read blog posts, watched videos, looked at photos… ok, examined photos to see if my daughter looked happy. In fact she looked more than happy, she looked as if she was having the journey of a lifetime.
She is due back in just a few short hours. Her room is ready, fresh flowers waiting. And I am taking the time to stop and reflect on what I have learned over March break in 2017.
I know that sending her on this trip, where she will fly all the way around the world was the right choice. I have realized that she is strong, and fierce, and will succeed at anything she wants to. I have realized that huge parts of my happiness is tied in with hers. I have missed her, deeply! I am grateful. I am grateful to Alive Outdoors, SMLS, and RSGC for making this trip possible. I know she will have learned lessons that I could never teach her. I know she has been in the best possible care, with adults who looked out for her as they would look out for their own children. I could not have asked, planned or done better than those she travelled with.
She is flying back now; she is in Canadian airspace! She flew East from Hong Kong, hugging the coast line of China and Russia, east over Alaska, and into Canada. By the time she lands she will have literally flown around the world. I wonder if she is aware of that. The way I figure it, if these 16 young people can fly all the way around the world, what else can they achieve? I can’t wait to find out!