In late June 2014, Cheryl was ready for a few days away from the chaos at work and for a chance to relax and enjoy her birthday. With her Magical Mystery Tours reveal packet in hand, she showed up to Washington Dulles airport and discovered she was headed to Nantucket, Massachusetts for an island retreat amid beautiful landscapes and a plethora of activities.
MMT: Why mystery travel? Cheryl: I wanted to commemorate a significant birthday. I had planned on going alone, but couldn’t decide where I wanted to go. Work was so hectic, with long hours, etc., and I couldn’t find the time to plan. I was at the point where I NEEDED, not wanted, to get away, but just didn’t know where to go. That’s where MMT entered the picture.
What were you looking for out of this trip? I was looking for some R&R, time to reflect, and a new adventure, though I suppose just the act of going through the MMT process and arriving at the airport with the unopened envelope in hand was half of the adventure…and definitely half of the fun! Several people who knew what I was doing said I was brave, but I never once felt that term applied. I am the type who typically plans, schedules, verifies, and reconfirms. This trip was going to be the opposite, and I was determined to go with the flow, even if it turned out to be a bad experience. It was going to be memorable…regardless!
Were you surprised when you opened your reveal packet at the airport? When I opened the envelope, my first thought was, “I was way off base!” Because of the weather forecast provided earlier, I couldn’t help but speculate where I might be going—and was wrong on all counts. I was expecting to see the Pacific Northwest (maybe Seattle, Portland, perhaps southern Canada), Upper Northwest (maybe Maine or southern Canada), or Alaska. I know I must have looked like a crazy lady waiting in the security line and finally walking to my gate in the Washington Dulles Airport—I just could not stop smiling. It was such a joyful experience.
How do you choose destinations when planning trips yourself? I have had the opportunity to travel a fair amount both in and out of country. I thoroughly enjoy traveling to new places and experiencing different cultures. It’s more of an adventure if English is not the native language. However, since I would be traveling alone on this trip and could allot only five days, I felt I would have a better experience without working through language barriers.
Tell me about your mystery trip! What was the best thing you did? I was as honest with myself as possible in completing the MMT questionnaires, and the things I naturally gravitate to were all part of this trip. The best way to describe it is MMT sent me someplace I didn’t even know I wanted to go! There was plenty to do, but I never felt rushed. Most memorable was the 18-mile bike tour to Sconset, sailing on the Endeavor, and my last night dining on the beach, wrapped in a blanket, watching the sun set and the stars come out.
What are your top tips for other potential mystery travelers? Stay flexible and be open to anything. Even if the destination is not what you expected or to your liking, it’s still a new experience and not to be wasted or taken lightly. And do not, under any circumstance, open the envelope until you get to the airport. While I feel certain I will do a MMT again, that first-time experience of “opening the envelope” cannot likely be duplicated…sort of like a first kiss.