Saturday, February 09, 2019

Is your suitcase packed?

Mine is not. I am not an easy or an enthusiastic traveler. But this leads to a lot of inner conflict. I am surrounded by addicted travelers: one friend just returned from Machu Picchu; another leaves tomorrow for three weeks in India; yet another goes to Australia in April for three weeks. I have neighbors, longtime friends, who go to Europe twice a year. When I confessed to them one night at supper that I don’t much like to travel, he looked at me in amazement. “Judy, I’ve never met anyone like that.”

Too often, I feel that not wanting to travel indicates some sort of deficiency in me. Perhaps I’m not adventuresome; maybe I’m not intellectually curious, which would lead to the inescapable conclusion that I’m boring. Whatever, none of this is helped by the fact that my youngest daughter, Jordan, is a travel agent. And she keeps putting temptation in my path.

But it’s true. I’m happy as a clam in my cottage. I like my own bed. I hate to leave my dog. Travel doesn’t have the siren call for me that it does for many. Yes, I have traveled a good deal in my life—mostly within the continental U.S. but as a child I went to Canada a lot, and I have been to Hawaii—a wonderful trip that I loved—and to Scotland, the land of my ancestors—a trip that will always be a highlight of my life. I’ve been to most of the western and midwestern states in our country, with a few ventures into New York and Florida (hated the latter) and lots of trips to North Carolina. The things about travel is that once I do it, I enjoy it.

And yes, there are places on my bucket list. If I could snap my fingers and be there, I’d go back to Scotland in a flash. I’d like to ride the Royal Scot, the luxury train that winds through the Highlands. As a substitute, I might like to take the train across western Canada. My one trip to New York City was pretty much a disaster, but maybe I’d like to go back, mostly because we have beloved relatives there. New England in the fall beckons to me, as do the Outer Banks of the Carolinas. Jordan and I had reservations for a Great Lakes cruise last summer, but I got too sick to go, and I’ve not worked my enthusiasm back up about that. I’m pretty content to travel by car (with someone else driving) in Texas to see my kids.

I have one friend, also a writer, who doesn’t much like to travel and finds it hard as we age (that’s a factor in my travel reluctance also). She posits that seniors often retire and travel because they have nothing else to fill their days. I sometimes think some people travel so they don’t have to stop and think about their lives and the empty days. These theories of course don’t apply to everyone—some of the most interesting and vital people I know are those who travel. Which leads me back to my inadequacy.

I’m going to Tomball TX in April—four hours by car—to celebrate my oldest son’s50th birthday. And next Christmas I’ll go with my whole family to a vacation house in Blanco TX. Now that’s my kind of travel. Scotland in my dreams. Texas is my reality.


Anonymous said...

Old 300 BBQ in Blanco. Awesome.

judyalter said...

Good to know. Man thanks.