Samwise Gamgee, the steady and dependable sidekick of Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein said, “Mr. Frodo, if I take one more step, it will be the farthest from home I have ever been.” That’s how I felt looking at the threshold of the airplane I was boarding in Montreal, Quebec on a flight headed for Athens, Greece.
If I am the hero of my own little life’s journey, I’m not the most interesting of hero’s. We’ve already established this fact. I’m pretty ordinary. Ordinary Jane. I love my home and while I dream about, write about, and read about adventure, I'm content to do so from the comfort of my couch. I’m about as spontaneous as a pot of cold water set on the stove to boil, unless you consider Internet shopping spontaneous. The notion that I haven’t been further from home than the 73-degrees West longitude and this airplane I’m boarding is about to take off from that mark on the globe and take me to the 23-degrees East of Athens, is sobering. I’ll cross the Prime Meridian, for goodness sakes. The idea of this trip to Greece and Italy was definitely more romantically exciting in theory, but now that I’m on my way, I feel the fear bouncing around in my chest like billiard balls knocking against each other.
The moment I entered that airplane and took my seat, I Crossed the First Threshold, another step in Joseph Campbell’s “Monomyth.” The first threshold represents the point in the hero’s journey in which she completely commits to the journey by crossing out of the ordinary world with which she is comfortable into the unknown. By doing so, the hero enters into the fantastic mysterious world committing to a journey she can’t control; however, she understands that it is only through commitment to this journey that she will be able to return home to the ordinary world.
As the plane takes off, my mind wanders considering everything that could go wrong. What if I lose my passport? What if my purse gets stolen? What if the luggage doesn’t get there? The “what-if” questions rage like a hungry wildfire in my mind. Then I feel my husband’s hand in mine; a calm covers me when I let go of the fear and consider the romantic notions that have defined me up to this point. The wildfire of “what-ifs” are silenced and my imagination begins to piece together a beautiful story about all of the possibilities of how this trip will go right. I smile with my husband’s hand in mine and I settle into the seat on the airplane taking me far from home.