Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Downside of Travelling

So yes, there was so much lovely in my experimental trip. I say experimental because it really was. A testing of the waters for a semi-planned far longer trip involving around 12 hours of travelling each way.

I hesitate to post the negative as many of us bloggers do, but I feel we do a disservice to the aging community by doing so. Life is not a constant bed of roses and we take the chaff with the wheat. And sometimes the chaff can last for days.

I find my tolerance for discomfort has faded with the ages. I would gladly sofa hop and hard floor sleep in the carefree full-body bounce back days. But no more.

Travel is stressful enough.

I can't praise West Jet, my airline, enough, their assistance was timely and helpful and courteous. Wheelchair from the check=in counter to the ramp, priority seating and assistance to leave the aircraft spot on. I felt very safe and cared for.

The challenges of sharing quarters with an elderly other, though, were many.

We stayed in her place for 3 days, moved to the Gaelic College for 3 days and then came back to her place for 3 days.

It put me in mind of George Carlin's great piece on "stuff" - you travel with bags of stuff for a stay someplace and then once you're settled in there you have to move out for a weekend condensing your condensed travel stuff to a micro-level bag of stuff.


Downside:
(1)Try as I might we couldn't co-ordinate our meal times. She's on 2 spontaneous meals a day supplemented by beers and gins.
I'm on 3 regular meals (diabetic)and no alcohol and was forced to endure enormous meal-gaps (trapped in a car)and I felt woozy and ill at ease with massive discomfort.I realized my assertion of these requirements was irritating and distancing.

(2)My room was the size of a closet (murphy bed) with every surface cluttered, no closet space, not even a hanger, so I lived out of my suitcase of wrinkled, un-aired clothes with nowhere to put medications, accessories, toothpaste, etc., and no bedside light to read, no wee table for my laptop which languished in my luggage, neglected. Added to that was a rug upon a rug which heaved itself into high ridges, tripping me often in the middle of the night and unadjustable blinds which hung at half mast throwing unwanted light into the tiny room.

(3)I couldn't use bathtubs or showers in both places as there were no safety bars. I tried the deep tub in her place but gave up as I knew it would take every blasted bit of ingenuity to climb out of it as it was so high and my foot slipped alarmingly on the non-slip bottom as I gripped the glass door to climb high and test it. Sponge baths were de rigeur. I hate prolonged sponge baths.

(4)She was very forgetful of conversations and maybe that is the downside of two elders sharing quarters, who's the one with the memory loss? Maybe it was me? Who knows?

(5)I hated not having my own transportation so I could get supplies. I hated not having my own quiet time. I hated hopping along after her with my walking stick and scoping the enormous distances on the college campus for benches to rest on between buildings.

And maybe all of this is about adaptation. I did this well when younger. But now? I find it stressful and miserable and if I could have flown back earlier, I would have.

I admire elders who go with the flow, roll with the punches.

I am not one of them. More like a grumpy geezer. I embrace it.




32 comments:

  1. Travelling with others, staying with others -- it's kindof stressful at every age past 40. I can feel your pain. It's not that I can't or won't compromise or adapt, it's that I don't want to be stuck somewhere that I have no choice and the discomfort lasts long. As I spend more time on this earth, the more I want to spend every possible moment enjoying myself instead of compromising and adapting to the choices and/or needs of others. -Kate

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    1. So very true Kate. Every possible moment indeed. I didn't like entering every day with a feeling of dread. Having said all this, she is a very kind and generous person in many, many other ways.
      And I just about kissed the ground when I got off the plane here.

      XO
      WWW

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    2. WWW there us the inconvenience of getting back up off the ground after kissing it.
      I,too , am at the point of enjoying my own company better than any other and only go where I can leave and be home by nightfall, safe and comfortable. My own bed, so to speak, and truly.

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    3. So true Gemma, the longer I live, the more I can entertain myself extraordinarily well. And would be a recluse, truly, if I had the choice. Well, apart from a dog.

      XO
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  2. Traveling with others and specifically staying with others (except for your significant other) is kind of stressful at every age -- or at least has been so for me. We all have our quirks and habits. That said, I'd love to travel again.

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    1. I would travel again but it would be hotel or inns. And my own car. And large room w desk, etc.

      XO
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  3. I want my own space. Even when we share a house rental with our children, we have separate bedrooms. I prefer my own hotel room when traveling with others. Someplace to get away and recalibrate.

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    1. Absolutely DKZ, we would get along very well together!!

      XO
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    2. Always!!! And we would understand bubble time and lots of it.

      XO
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  4. You are definitely not on your Pat Malone. I find travelling stressful (and tiring) and interacting with other people the same. And NEED my quiet time. The last person I can remember staying with (some years ago) lived in a dirty house and was noisy. Very noisy. I got up before the sun and took myself outside for some quiet time and fresh air. And have resisted (successfully) visiting him again.

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    1. Smooth move, EC. She had originally booked us a shared room at the Gaelic College but I howled at that and she switched us to separate. I think she's a far more tolerant person than I am. At times we run into our own limitations and not in a nice way. Dat me. :D

      XO
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  5. Oh dear, that sounds like a pretty grim experience, one where even the most adaptable person would be unhappy. It seems that your needs weren't catered for in any way and you struggled with the most basic things. Personally I'm very wary of staying in someone's home as there may be many unexpected deficiencies. I will only stay in a hotel or at a pinch a B&B. I hope there were at least a few pleasurable moments to compensate for the problems.

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    1. Oh loads of very pleasurable moments, Nick, it was the day to day living thing that was a problem and only for me. I learned a lot and won't repeat sharing another's dwelling in a distant place without transportation :)

      XO
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  6. Maybe, you should be like me. I have not traveled since 2013, when I went to Florida and Washington, DC. I hate the thought of the inconvenience and hardship getting on the plane and just getting around. I don't miss traveling at all. Instead, we just stay in Hawaii, which is as good as it gets. Thank you for being so honest.

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    1. Good plan Gigi, There is really is no need for me to get off this island either. I am not a sun worshipper and enjoy, immensely, my own company and life here so yes from one island to another, we love where we live!

      XO
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  7. My partner says always stay positive on Facebook. His interpretation of positive and mine are different, so I rarely do anything but click like. But my blog is different, I can be negative and critical and write pretty well what I like and still I have treasured people who comment.

    I think you have to think very hard before travelling again, well in that manner where you are a guest. Even if someone offers us free accommodation, we prefer to pay and have our own space. Even staying with my partner's sister recently, lovely as she is, it was hard going.

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    1. Thanks for the validation Andrew. I know my first post was positive and charming but it wasn't all the truth and I've always posted about the downsides of life too, so it was very mixed, the experiences were absolutely delightful but the actual living was a huge challenge. Not to be repeated.

      XO
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  8. I've had second thoughts about an upcoming trip. You just confirmed them.I would not be a good guest in a stranger's strange home.

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    1. It was extraordinarily challenging Joanne, and she is a good friend for many, many years. Keeping the brave face and the nerves under tight control was so very exhausting. I absolutely cringe when I think of that closet-bedroom and my entrapment.

      I am glad my honest post helped you make up your mind. I will never do this again.

      XO
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  9. Every one of your points reminds me of why I stay home. I like my comfort and I'm used to this place now, so there are no more adaptations necessary.

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    1. And I desperately needed to remind myself fors if I don't write it down for myself and others it tends to fade into a rosy memory of the good times and not the bad.

      No more adaptations. I like that.

      XO
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  10. I hear ya about tolerance for discomfort fading with age. Thanks for the funny bit about "stuff."

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    1. I realize also that we only have a few short years in later life where we can still sort of adapt.Those days are gone for me.

      XO
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  11. George Carlin so so often right on target. Love that riff on stuff.

    I used to love to camp, but wouldn't sleep on the ground now if you paid me. I think it's naturally to crave more comfort as you age. Sorry you and your travel companion weren't a great fit.

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    1. We are each of us aging in divergent ways SAW and finding the twain meeting is difficult. I am sure I irritated her as much with my pills and cane and regulated meals. Hotels or Airbnbs are the way to fly. As inquiries can be made - it's hard to make demands of friends about room size and safety bars etc. etc.

      XO
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  12. That does sound hard. One doesn't like to sound ungrateful but a little rant is sometimes called for. And Carlin absolutely nailed it, as usual (too bad he's gone!).

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    1. I know I struggled with posting it Annie as I felt it was such a whine but looking at my journal of the event I went lightly on the situation as it was actually a little worse :(

      XO
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  13. Thank you to all of the above for helping me confirm that I'm not a tight-assed, unwilling-to-compromise, unadaptable person for refusing to take a trip through 3 countries in Europe last year with my husband, his son and daughter-in-law and their 9-month-old baby. I knew I didn't want to be caught/stuck in the many uncomfortable (and possibly long-lasting) situations that would come up with a wee one in airports and on planes and trains and other people's homes and so on, or with people I care for but have never spent a lot of time with. That is not my idea of a holiday or a good time but some people raised their eyebrows at me, as if I was missing a real opportunity. However, even now, more than a year later when my husband recounts one of their inconvenient or tiresome experiences, I'm glad I didn't go. I have no interest in going, really, in the first place, but I might consider it in different circumstances. Comfort would be a top priority. -Kate

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    1. Thanks for that Kate, it is enormously challenging at the best of times and even more so as we age and suffer pains and pills and needs outside those of our twenties. It is a terrible trap and not for the faint of heart when things slide sideways or get too uncomfortable or like me, need massive alone time.

      XO
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  14. You have very nicely enumerated all the reasons why I don't travel any more. Plus of course a few other reasons.

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    1. I am so glad to be of assistance, kind sir. And most of all know that I am not alone in my geezerhood.

      XO
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