Making That Trip Happen
Long ago and far away, I traveled to England with my mother. Thirty years ago. With a tour group. It’s not something either of us would normally do, but we were on our way to Egypt, to see the opera “Aida” at the Temple of Luxor. If you know the opera, you know it takes place in Egypt, so, in a sense, we were seeing it “on site”. We then took a ship down the Nile to various sites (yes, like Agatha Christie’s “Death on the Nile; I KNOW!), flew back to Cairo, back to London, then back to New York.
It was an amazing trip, and rejuvenated me at a very low point in my life…for those particular details, buy me strong drink and very good food.
I’m usually not good at tour groups, and frankly neither was Mom–they often involve people with attitudes, restrictive schedules, piling on the bus, piling off the bus, “stick with the group, stick with the tour”, etc. But this particular tour offered something neither one of us could find otherwise; an opera we knew we would both enjoy, visits to ancient sites, and a tour guide who was herself a historian! The schedule was fairly flexible, and the tour company had also been in business for generations–always a good sign.
Mom and I had traveled solo and together, and understood each other’s idiosyncrasies–I enjoyed wine and beer, while she did not. She was an early bird, and I was a night owl…she was much more of an introvert, and I was/am….well, you know me. I’ll talk to almost anyone. But we worked through those things–she got up before me, and wrote in her journal, and I stayed up late and wrote in mine, and she left the social gatherings when her tolerance level for small talk hit its peak (earlier than mine!).
My point is that, while she and I had enjoyed solo travel, and she had traveled with my dad quite a bit, we found a way to take our differences into consideration and travel together. We found something we both wanted to do, a group that wasn’t huge, an itinerary we could live with, and a company with an excellent reputation.
She’s been gone for nearly 10 years, and I think of her often–her love of travel, her adventuresome spirit, the things she taught me about packing, here lesson in to wash and dry the entire wardrobe for a family of four in a hotel bathroom(!), and how to take the misadventures of travel in stride.
The take-away here? You can do this. Yes, *YOU*. It doesn’t have to be England and Egypt. It can be an Amtrak trip two hours away, or four, or all the way across the country! It can be you and your kids hopping in the car for a weekend and seeing how far one tank of gas takes you….then putting another tank in to get you back home. It can be camping in the nearest state park and cooking hot dogs over a campfire. It can be a tour group going to the nearest big city for the day. Somewhere. Anywhere. But *GO*! It’s the going that counts.
(Photo is a much younger me in front of the Chesterfield Hotel, Mayfair, London. One of the most beautiful hotels I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying in)