I’m a lover of words, and am happy to find new ones to add to my stash, as well as opportunities to use unusual ones that I’ve had tucked away. As we are about to leave for Germany to visit my oldest daughter and her husband, I poked around in my word satchel to see if I had anything that might serve the purpose. I thought of “junket,” which seemed to have a sort of “trip” flavor about it. It turns out that a junket is a kind of trip, but generally understood as a trip taken by one person (often a government employee or official) at the expense of someone else. I’m no bureaucrat, and the tickets for this trip were purchased with the euros el Guapo has been saving up from his industrious work in Valencia, so it seems the word isn’t quite what I was looking for.
That doesn’t always stop us in our word choices, I know. Consider this conversation between Humpty Dumpty and Alice, in Lewis Caroll’s Through the Looking Glass:
I’m not going to insist that junket temporarily set aside its usual meaning in order to give me the chance to use it to describe my trip up north. After all, it’s not the only chance I’ll have to use the word. I don’t anticipate taking extravagant trips as a government employee, but it’s entirely within the realm of possibility that I will one day make “a dish of sweetened and flavoured curds of milk,” which is the other meaning of junket. I’ve still got options.
In the mean time, what other words might I use? The list could include excursion, jaunt, journey, outing, trek, tour, peregrination, odyssey. All of these have shades of meaning that make them not quite le mot juste (a favorite marginal note from my freshman writing instructor, often followed by a question mark). Ninja wrote to tell his fourth grade class about our impending travels, and noted that we were going to take a taxi to a train to a bus to a plane to a car to his sister’s apartment. There’s a chance that the right word for what’s coming up is “ordeal.” I guess we’ll know once we get there. Whatever we call it, I’m excited to see my oldest daughter and get a hug of willkommen.