Big trip coming up tomorrow. Again. Whoo Hoo! My husband and I are in a season of travel right now. I like this season. Travel is one of my passions. Don’t tell the Tea Partiers, but seeing the world can expand your thinking. I know – I’m a Socialist…
We’re very fortunate to have the means. But only because we are “value” travelers. Bargain airfares (mostly offseason), bargain accommodations (sans bed bugs!), bargain tours, bargain car rentals, bargain food. I do get a bit tired of the doner kababs sometimes. But they’re cheap and filling if the sodium content doesn’t cause a stroke…
We have the time. Remember, I’ve been on hiatus. And my husband has been working for the same organization for nearly 40 years. He has something like 10 weeks of vacation every year. You’d think we were French, right? And because he’s the boss where he works, with a few exceptions, he can go when he wants. Mel Brooks is right – it’s good to be the king.
We have the physical ability. For now. My husband has a neurological condition that’s robbing him of the use of his right leg. He can walk, but only very slowly and with a cane. He can’t walk very far – about a half a mile in a day is it. So I have to plan our trips carefully for easy accessibility to sights and transport. Sometime that ratchets up the cost of our lodging. But, it’s still possible to get value digs without having bed bugs as your bunkmates. It just takes a little extra time to research. Okay – a lot of extra time. Trip Advisor has become my travel BFF.
The upside of his condition – if there is one – is that flying is easier. Back in the day, flying used to be easy for everybody. Now it sucks. Too many people, too few flights, too little space, too much customer “no-service” from the airlines… S-U-C-K-S.
We get to board first because we need “extra time”. Translation – guaranteed overhead bin space! I look back at the teeming humanity in the gate area all pushing and shoving to get near the front so they can dash on when their zone is called to find a space for their roller-boards, and I think, “Suckers!” But payback’s a bitch… When I’m flying alone, I’m part of that teeming humanity. I imagine I’m a lioness getting ready to take down a wildebeest. Zone 2 may now board – take no prisoners!!
We always need a wheelchair to meet us at our destination. When you’re traveling to another country, this is handy. Very handy. Actually, unbelievably handy. You get to skip all of the immigration and customs lines. Like totally. They whisk you past all of the cranky people with whining children who have been up all night in the 12 inch economy seats. Right to the front of the line.
Now I’m also cranky after an international flight. And whiny. And I look like sh*t because I’ve been up all night in my 12 inch economy seat. But my mood improves significantly as we pass go and collect our passport stamps before the last person on our flight has deplaned. Score!
After every trip, my husband says it’s his last. He would gladly trade early boarding and our speedy trips through immigration and customs for the ability to walk normally again. So would I. He thinks I should travel alone. He thinks he holds me back. If I was honest, I’d say sometimes he does. But I also think I see with wider eyes when I go slower. I see things that I’d have missed going my “normal” breakneck speed. A cat behind a lace curtain in a window in Dingle or a beautiful wrought iron doorway in a courtyard on Rhodes… Poetic moments that you don’t normally notice when you rush by.
He really doesn’t do so bad. He’s been able to climb the Acropolis in Greece, walk through the Alhambra in Spain, cross the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge in Northern Ireland, walk through the Valley of the Kings in Egypt and most recently, hiked the Grampians National Park in South Australia. All very, very slowly. But he did it.
So I continue to plan trips for us to new places to see new things. This time it’s the beaches of Normandy and the poppy fields of Flanders. We love history. We can’t wait. It’s supposed to rain in Belgium. The cobblestones in Bruges could get interesting…
How long this season or travel will last, I can’t say. Maybe the means will run out before we anticipate. These days it seems like no retirement income or lifetime of savings is a guarantee of financial independence. Maybe our time will be taken up by other things like my restarted business. Or aging parent care. OR OUR FIRST GRANDCHILD WHO IS DUE IN DECEMBER!!
Oh – did I say that too loud?
Maybe in a few years he’ll not be able to walk at all. I think we’ll still be able to travel, but it will look much different than it does now. So I just continue to plan one trip at a time. And we both continue to enjoy the hell out of each one!
I’m not taking my laptop with me this time. I think I’ll go old school with a notebook and a pen. How quaint…
See y’all in September!