Summer is just about here and so are those summer travel plans.

This upcoming Memorial Day weekend is a time to remember those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Not to get too preachy on you, but take some time to let that sink in. Men and women have given their lives for us to live in this free nation. To those who have lost someone in the service, thank you for your sacrifice.

I guess the best way for us to be thankful for our freedom is to get out there and live it. Otherwise, why do we have it? That may be one of the reasons why this weekend serves as the unofficial kickoff to the summer, the season that screams freedom.

That being said, where are you headed this summer? Maybe people are planning on getting out to town. In fact, 70 percent are looking to take a solo road trip and ditch the people they spent the lockdown with. 60 percent of people want to try or experience something new. In other words, we're ready to go.

Recently, I spent a few days visiting a friend in Washington DC. She had a pandemic baby and I just had to see this adorable nugget in person so I jumped on a plane and made it happen. And even though I traveled a few times over the past year, something about this trip struck me.

It feels normal.

Aside from the masks, the pre-bagged snack bags, and the lack of drink service on the planes... it was normal. People are still slow to get through security. There's never anywhere to sit at your gate. Airlines like American are cramming everyone in like a can of sardines. And for some odd reason, people are still asking me to direct them places or how to print out their boarding ticket. Maybe I was born with it or maybe I just look like I've done all this before.

The big thing that they won't tell you about traveling these days is that we all have a shared experience now... a pandemic.

Before 2020, none of us had been through something like this. However, at that airport I looked around me and I knew that everyone had been touched by it, like I had, this last year.

My prayer is that we embrace this feeling of connectedness. That it would drive us to be compassionate with one another and empathetic. I still saw angry and annoyed people, like always, but I found myself looking for ways to be extra helpful to people around me. Perhaps that's why so many people kept asking me questions.

And it's not just with travel. I pray that we approach each day with a new outlook. A feeling of hope, strength, and eagerness. We lost a lot over the last year+... it's about time we embraced what we have and what we can have in the future.

We're all human and created by God which brings us together organically, but now we are all connected by a shared experience.

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