You know that feeling when you’ve been gone from home too long and you miss your bed? And your cat and husband? (Maybe in that order) Yeah, that feeling. I was having that before I got back from Texas on Wednesday. I had reached my limit. I could feel a very grouchy me taking over. It wasn’t going to be pretty if I did not get home soon!
My girlfriends and I were talking about this earlier in the summer. No matter what kind of trip you might be on, pleasure or not, there’s a point at which you start getting homesick. For some it only takes a couple of days, and for others it might be a week in, but eventually you yearn for your own space, your privacy, your routine. If you are on a long-planned vacation you usually don’t let that stop the fun. But if you are on an unexpected family funeral trip staying in a hotel room with your Mother, well, the intensity of your yearning grows exponentially.
I like to travel. I have a wanderlust that keeps me dreaming of all the places I want to go. I’m by no means a world traveler having only been to a handful of places out of the country, but that doesn’t stop me from keeping a travel bucket list. I want to see more of our amazing world, be it across the globe or in my own state. My daddy used to say, “Why would I want to travel outside the country when I haven’t seen all of the United States yet?” (Those of you who know my daddy are chuckling about now.) I can see his point, but can’t we mix it up a bit? This year another country and next year another county?
I know some people who don’t like to fly and it keeps them from going anyplace they can’t drive. Air travel certainly isn’t as glamorous as it once was, but I don’t fear it. It’s a necessary evil if your time is limited and your ambitions are broad. I’m not mocking those who fear flying because I know that anxiety is very real, but I’m grateful it’s not one of my phobias. That said, I also really love a good road trip.
As a child my family drove. We were not a family who took fancy flying vacations. We loaded the car and headed out. You can see a lot of our country from the road. The benefit is the ability to make spontaneous stops along the way, though my Daddy was the type who often had a mileage goal. Gotta’ make it to San Antonio today so we can make it to Santa Fe tomorrow. My grandfather, on the other hand, was easily distracted. See an interesting sign…let’s head off down that gravel road and see what’s there! We saw many fascinating (or not) things that way. My Daddy and my grandfather seldom traveled together.
I must pause here to mention one of the other benefits of road travel: car snacks! In the car you have room for a bag of junk food, maybe even a small cooler with drinks of the sugary, carbonated kind. Chips, cookies, candy, beef jerky, even sandwiches can be carried in the car. You can literally snack your way across the country. We all have a favorite road food. Mine is M&M’s. Plain or peanut, doesn’t matter. A big bag of M&M’s and a box of Cheese-it’s will carry you for many a mile.
Five years ago I took my mother-in-law on a great road trip to Texas. She had never been, so I had carefully planned every day and stop. We saw some sights and/or family in every state along the way. She kept an atlas in her lap and marked our progress. She also read important facts to me from her phone, such as Arkansas is the biggest rice producing state in our country. Who knew? We took the northern route through Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma into the panhandle of Texas. Then we worked our way south, eventually ending up in my hometown of Beaumont. We came home by the southern route through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. One day we even took a quick detour into New Mexico. I was pretty sure I knew where I was going when I headed off down a narrow country road but I didn’t factor in how low we were on fuel. By the time we finally coasted into a gas station in some tiny NM town we had 12 miles left in the tank. Yikes! She was a nervous wreck after that, watching the needle the rest of the trip. Kinda tarnished my perfect daughter-in-law image.
Her son, my hubby, doesn’t have the travel bug quite the way I do. To him a vacation involves a beach and an umbrella drink. And I get that. He needs to relax from the pressure of a pretty intense job. He’s not into lots of museum strolling and fact learning. He tells me this will change once he retires, but I have that fear we will be too old to enjoy heavy-duty travel by then. (I’ve heard stories….) So I’ve been nagging, I mean convincing, him for quite awhile now. And guess what?! I wore him down. We are going to London at the end of this month! Why London? Well, why not? Actually, a couple reasons. One, it’s English speaking. I thought our first international trip together might be a little easier if we didn’t have a language barrier. Two, I LOVE anything British, as in books and movies and accent. I mean, England has Hugh Grant and the monarchy and Downton Abbey! No beach and umbrella drinks, but I’ve scheduled some pub time to keep him happy after our museum tromping.
I’m very excited about this upcoming adventure, but I already know that I’ll miss my cat and my bed. And my bathroom. What’s with that?! What is it about aging that makes us want our own bathroom? (Ugh, TMI) Another little story about my Daddy…..he bought an RV after retirement, and he and Mother traveled the west extensively for many years. But one of his favorite perks about RVing…..you guessed it…..he had his own bathroom with him everywhere they went. This was an eye-rolling, cringe-worthy conversation at the time. But now, I get it Daddy……sadly, I get it.