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Then and Now

by Gail Mooney
April 24 2010

It’s really hard to believe that it’s been almost 40 years since I started my first adventure around the world.  Somewhere in the journal that I kept from that journey long ago is a ragged map of the world with a tracing of my route in a faded magic marker trail, plotting my path across the globe.

Gail at Pyramids - 19 years old

I was 19 years old and I had never been outside of North America. I also never had to “take care” of myself before – meaning think about where I was going to sleep/live – let alone pay for it.  I had just finished two years of college, and my parents were still “taking care” of me.  I was about to embark on a trip which I thought at the time would be three months of traveling with a friend.  It turned into a yearlong adventure and for the most part – I traveled by myself.  I found out what “taking care” of myself really meant.

Erin is 23 years old, graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University last June, has held a real job since graduating and has been responsible for all of her needs – her apartment, transportation, food and healthcare to name a few.  She’s also grown up being on the road with her parents as we traveled the world on assignments for various corporations and magazines.  She studied abroad for 6 months – in Chile and traveled quite a bit within Chile while she was there – dealing with the logistics on her own.  She is certainly starting this trip with a lot more maturity than I had when I began my first major journey.

Not only will we be circling the globe on this trip but also we will be creating a feature length documentary together.  That will come with its own responsibilities as well as many rewards.  It will give us a purpose and a more intimate look at where we are.  It will open our eyes on a deeper level.  It will be interesting to see how we work together on a creative project – how will that dynamic work?  How will being with each other 24/7 work?  There will no doubt be highs and lows along the way and things happen that we didn’t expect.  Some of those things will be pleasant surprises and some may be setbacks.  It will be interesting to see how we each deal with those things.

We will have a much easier time of staying “connected” with the Internet and email, skype and cell phones than I did some 40 years ago.

Gail and Erin at Pyramids - Erin- 19 years old

Sure, there will be places we travel to where we will be “off the grid” so to speak.  That will be humbling and no doubt bring back memories of being totally cut off when I made my first journey.  This time around we can use technology, to not only stay connected with folks back home but to allow them to follow our journey through our words, images and video.

When Erin was very young we had a special ritual that we shared. It was our time together.  Every evening after I gave her a bath, I use to wrap her up in a big warm, fluffy towel and I’d sit on the floor and cradle her in my arms and sing Joni Mitchell’s song “Circle Game”.  The lyrics to that song were written on the inside cover of my journal that I kept all those years ago.  I saw them every day and took comfort in the words.  I passed them along to my daughter.  And now we face an incredible adventure together.

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