Scientific Fun/Enjoyment Breakdown: PYL In-Flight: Mar 9, 2023

Terri Hanson Mead
Terri Hanson Mead
Published in
6 min readMar 10


Welcome Back My Adventurous Passengers:

Last summer I took my then 17 year old (Finn) on a 20 day trip to Europe. I took pictures, journaled, made notes in my planner, and finally got around to writing 20 separate blog posts, in 24 hour increments. It took me 17 days, writing 1–2 per day. It was a lot.

I learned a few things in the process:

  • It’s almost as much fun to relive the experience through pictures and notes
  • So many details are lost and forgotten so detailed notes are important
  • Time creates some distance from the memories which softens some of the bad moments
  • Finn and I were really busy the entire trip! We covered some serious ground.
  • It took a great deal of courage to go on this trip
  • I really like to drive in Europe and not have every detail figured out (for a planner, this is a big deal!)
  • Everything came together as it should, despite some of the mishaps
  • I can’t wait to do a similar trip with my son Adam this summer!

If you’d like to read the blog posts, starting with the summary, here’s the link. It includes links to each of the individual posts, highlight reel, epic failures, and some more info about the trip.

My husband Zeke is home from his 2+ week cycling trip from Queenstown to Nelson, New Zealand. He and his guy friends spent several months planning the trip and now it’s over. He’s happy to be home and doesn’t know when he’s going to get back on his bike. They rode 775 miles, climbed 35,000 feet, and ate countless meat pies from gas stations and markets. They had rain, hail, 80 degree weather and 35 degree weather.

They stayed in hostels and motels, camped, and slept at the homes of warmshower hosts.

It too was an epic trip.

We are experiencing the beginning of another series of storms here in Northern California that, depending on the forecast, may last for 10 more days. This is not the weather we pay for here.

As we are trapped inside, I am researching my next big trip, this time with Adam. He should be graduating from Chapman University (Philisophy) at the end of May and we’ve booked airline tickets to Amsterdam and return flights home from Rome about two weeks later. I purchased maps and guidebooks and I’ve been watching YouTube videos for inspiration.

While Zeke was gone (I’m using some of the pics he sent me from his trip), Adam and I got on Facetime for a few hours and talked through our options.

We’ve eliminated the Italian Riviera and have Amsterdam, Paris, Torino, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Tuscany, and Umbria on our list of places to explore. We know we will need reservations at the Uffizi and Accademia galleries in Florence and the Colisseum, Vatican City, and the Bhorgese Gallery in Rome so those cities will be our anchors.

Once we pick up the car in Torino, we want to figure it out as we go.

I know that at some point in my life, the idea of not having it all planned out would have been terrifying. Last summer I only allowed for two nights without hotel reservations or knowing where we would stay at night. We had a 50% success rate but it was enough to want to do more of it with my next big trip. We loved being spontaneous and having the freedom to do as we pleased. Finn’s a planner, too.

What I love most is having something to look forward to. Until I booked this trip, I was waiting for everyone else to set their schedule before I could set mine.

We weren’t certain if Adam would graduate or when he and his girlfriend would be moving to Denver. He’s assured us he’s graduating on May 20th and they won’t be moving to Denver until the latter part of June.

We still aren’t certain of Finn’s plans for the summer but Finn decided to spend the first few weeks at home. This freed up some time for me to travel with Adam. We also know that Finn will be moving back into the dorms on August 27th. Everything else is a bit mushy.

In my last PYL In-Flight last month (My Husband Left Me), I commented on how nice it was to do what I wanted, when I wanted to, without working around everyone else’s schedule. One day, too soon, I will be in a different position and I will be able to put my stuff on the calendar first. Until then, it feels a bit like having a lot of spinning plates in the air and trying to find the right time to add another one.

Zeke and I have been talking about taking a trip together and he suggested an ebike trip from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington, DC this fall. It sounds like a great and terrible idea and perhaps I should ride more than 5 miles on my ebike before committing to 620 miles over 2 weeks.

Most of those miles would have to be in the morning because I am pretty sure there would be an adult beverage or two at lunch. And then another at a snack stop. By the way, this is what drunk scootering looks like.

I’m once again feeling the tension between wanting to plan something versus taking the time to learn, research, and explore options. This too is part of the fun. For a take action kind of gal, restraint can be difficult.

So I will remind myself that the scientific fun / enjoyment breakdown is: 25% planning, 50% experience, 25% reflection.

I can get on board with this.

May you find peace, acceptance, and love today as you navigate being human.

With much love and gratitude,


This week’s song: Wide Open Spaces by The (Dixie) Chicks. This is the perfect music for thinking about the future and making travel plans. It’s full of optimism and promise.

Journal prompt / reflection: Where do I want to go? What do I want to do? What will it take to get there?
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Terri Hanson Mead
Terri Hanson Mead

Tiara wearing, champagne drinking troublemaker, making the world a better place for women. Award winning author of Piloting Your Life.