First morning in Lyon

Early on the first morning in Lyon, France

It starts early for me, that first morning on the road. I think it’s the anticipation, the excitement, the feeling that anything is possible – anything at all. That all of it will be good.

Travel days, especially that first long trip from home to wherever, can be hectic and tiring and often frustrating. The crush of airports, queuing up in endless lines, trying to sleep upright in a narrow seat in a noisy plane, just to queue up yet again. Even with all the excitement of a new trip, I am not always the most patient person in the world.

But waking up that first morning? That first morning I am ready to go. Ready to take it all in

The magic – the real magic – is the first morning. At least for me. So I wake up early pretty much every morning when I travel. I don’t want to miss a minute.

That first morning though, I let myself wake up slowly. As I come awake I have to smile. I am waking up someplace new. I am waking up someplace exotic. I am waking up in a foreign land.

In that moment everything is exciting. Everything is ahead of me. It is Christmas morning, Easter, and my birthday all rolled into one. There is no end of exciting stuff waiting for me just out there..

Early mornings, especially weekday mornings, are my favorite. I get the chance to really see what day to day life is like. In France it was the lines at the coffee shops or patisseries. On the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, it was watching the fishermen heading in with the morning’s catch.

I like to see how people live. Sure, I’ll be heading to the museum or the church or the park that day. But in that early morning bustle I get a taste of what it must be like to wake up here every day.

That first morning, and all the first mornings that follow it – each new town – just feels different to me. It is more than being in a hotel. I have stayed in hotels in any number of places, but anyplace that isn’t here, my home country? There is something different in the air. There is a difference in the way I feel.

There is anticipation and excitement. There is, dare I say it, a romance to that morning. Rain or shine, hot or cold,

I consider myself  lucky, really and truly lucky, that I get that tingly, happy, anticipatory jolt in each new town. I may have been in Paris yesterday, but today I am waking up in another new town. I get another first morning.

In a way, I have a bit of that every day I’m out there on the road. The first morning is the best, but the ones that follow it? They are pretty darn good too. I find that more often than not I’m just happy to be there, just happy to have that experience again.

It was one of the most unexpected parts about traveling. I was pretty sure that on that first morning of that first trip, I would be pretty excited. I figured that I would get jaded. Firsts can only be firsts once, right? And yet there it is.

It hasn’t worn off yet, that excitement, and oh how I look forward to it now. I wait in anticipation of  that slow reveal and happy realization. Just thinking about it makes me smile.

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