Friday, August 17, 2007


How midlife travel differs:

We just do it, I mean. We're dug in wherever we are and the wanderlust has mostly wandered off. Air travel sucks for any age group, as we know. When I was a little girl, we put on our dresses, black patin shoes and gloves to get on an airplane. The stewardesses had theirs on too, and it was such an exciting adventure.

When I prepare for air travel now-a-days, I make sure I have my blow-up pillow to place in the seat at my lower back. I have another one for use around my neck so that when I sleep my head doesn't wind up in my lap, with drool soaking the sweat pants I've worn for comfort. I carry Neosporin in my gigantic purse. I put a dab around the inside of each nostril so I won't get sick from all the re-circulated air. I've already swallowed the Airborne tablets in water to futher protect me from travel germs. I wear eye covers with the little elastic strap around my head and ear plugs to block out the screaming babies. It's not a pretty sight.

I no longer converse with my immediate neighbors on airiplanes. Let's face it, I'll never see them again after we 'disembark,' so I don't care that they might think my silence rude. Now I'm ready for my 45-minute flight.

When I see those travelers with one tiny bag for their entire journey...and it fits in the overhead bin, I'm embarrassed for them. They will have so few choices of what to wear when they 'reach their final destination.' Of course, this requires me to wait as long at baggage claim as the length of the flight itself, but I will have options, and they will not. Shlepping my enormous suitcase, gigantic purse and additional carry-on bag is a bother, no doubt, but I'm prepared for anything.

I've picked a hotel that suits me. No room service, no me at their estabiishment. The days of walking down a long hallway to the ice machine in my chenille robe are over. I require a gift basket upon arrival and more sample bathroom cosmetics than will fit in my carry-on bag for the return trip home. I find space for them somehow and then keep them in my bathroom for years. It's just that they're free (aside from the extra fees that hotels charge for nothing).

At this age, when I visit a new locale, I prefer to find an outdoor cafe and sit for hours. I've seen all the museums and galleries years before. Besides, I'm exhausted from the trip and feel that local color can be found by just sitting instead of hiking. If I walk at all, it's to the nearest adorable boutique that I've researched on the Internet. My suitcase has a zipper which extends its depth for just such occasions. That way, I have even more options for travel wear.

My trip has been a wonderful one. I've seen all I can see from the comfort of my little outdoor cafe, eaten everything they have on the menu, and I'm ready for the trip home. The reverse travel process plays itself out until I am happily ensconced back in my comfortable home, and I'm exhausted.

All this talk about travel has caused me to rethink my next trip. I'm not sure I'm up to it.


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