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COLUMN: Planes, trains and automobiles

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By Shannon Brock

My parents aren’t really vacation people.

In fact, we only took one week-long vacation (to Myrtle Beach, S.C.) during my childhood.

Other “vacations” were spent in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge, Tenn. or lounging around the house happy to be free from work and school.

Still today, it’s a small victory to get them to travel as far away from Pineville as Lawrenceburg.

But don’t think I’m complaining. That’s who they are. They love Pineville, and they love the little hollow (yes, I really wanted to spell it holler) in which they both were raised.

Through school trips and other opportunities, I was able to take quite a few “vacations” — to New York, Amish country, Washington, D.C., North Carolina, Florida, Indianapolis and Chicago, at least — so I don’t really feel held back or hindered.

However, because of all this, until this past weekend, I had never flown.

Trips taken with school groups were by charter bus, so I never really had the chance.

My first trip to Chicago was during my senior year of college. Because I was traveling with a professor and two “classmates” I hadn’t met before the trip, I refused to fly. My wonderful professor, and now friend, agreed to drive us up, and that was that.

However, I fell in love with the city and had been itching for an opportunity to go back.

Enter my 25th birthday (which was a week ago today) and my wonderful husband.

Josh scheduled a trip to the windy city and booked flights (gasp!) to get us there and back.

Obviously, I survived, and surprisingly, I didn’t let my nerves get the best of me. But that doesn’t mean I was butterfly-free.

My heartbeat was a bit faster than usual and I know I was a little fidgety in the airport, but my first flight was a success. I found that my secret to flying was not thinking about it.

I sat in my seat, looking out the window occasionally, and focused my thoughts on anything other than being 23,000 feet in the air.

In addition to the flight, Chicago also played host to several other firsts for me. I can cross “riding a subway” off of my to-do list, as well as seeing many of the city’s sights for the first time. (My previous trip was for a journalism conference, so there was very little time for exploring.)

During our four-day mini vacation, we managed to travel by foot, car, subway, airplane and boat. The boat tour of the city up the Chicago River was only my third time on a boat — once on a ferry to Ellis Island and twice to tour the city of Chicago. Of course my husband burst out in laughter after hearing that, simply responding, “I’ve been on a boat made out of duct tape more times that that — and that’s not a joke.”

Although it’s as true as the rest of this column, we’ll wait for another day, another issue to address that.

So, flights No. 1 and No. 2 were both successes, and it’s safe to say I’d do it again. Who knows? Maybe next time my parents will come along.

Follow Shannon Mason Brock at Twitter.com/ANewsSBrock.