Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Driving into the sunset.....

Traveling takes on a different perspective as we age. Some people sell their homes, buy huge RVs, and hit the road. Some become cruise kings and queens, sailing dozens of times every year. And, let's face it, many people today can't afford to go anywhere.

But for me, the main thing to know is that I don't fly any more. It's not that I'm afraid to fly, which makes my reasoning not quite logical, but it won't be the first (or last) time people look at me with that quizzical, sideways squint that means "This chick is a little crazy, right?"

It's that flying is boring and way too much hassle these days. Heightened security, tiny seats, no food, overpriced drinks, the fact that everyone is's all just too much for me at this point in my life. Throw in the chance that you might sit in a closed airplane, on the ground, for hours before you even take off, and I'm just not willing to face it. We have become pawns in the grinding gears of bureaucracy in far too many arenas as it is....I don't need this one, too.

What this means, of course, is that I drive everywhere I need to go. (So far that hasn't meant motoring to California or other such distant locales.....I'll think about that if it happens.) I plot my route on my GPS and on the Internet, try to make sure my atlas is in my car, get my music and books on CD ready, and off I go. I enjoy actually seeing where I'm going and the freedom to stop whenever I want to. Someday I'm going to get in my car and just drive, with no idea where I'm going. Just to see where I end up.

Yes, I know that this means the whole process takes much longer, and therein lies the lack of logic, considering flying is a mere inconvenience to me and not a fear. I have no defense; it's just the way it is.

And to add more illogic to the scenario,  I have to admit that my stamina for travel is less these days. Like today.....I am sitting in a hotel room not more than 10 minutes from the Gulf of Mexico, but I've been too tired to get myself there. I can practically smell the salt in the air, but this bed is soft and comfy, and my room has a balcony that allows me to watch the sunset through the palm trees outside. Maybe I wouldn't have been so tired if I had just flown here, boredom be damned.

My days of "Got to get up and DO something!" are long gone, too. Hotel rooms have become much more comfortable, I think, with pillow top mattresses, a real desk with wireless Internet, sofas and coffee tables, and happy hour in the bar. Sure, I would like to get over to the beach, but I'm pretty comfortable where I am, too. Maybe I can live here.

So many things change as we age, and I've found that traveling is one that has changed the most for me. No more airplanes, hitting the road instead, and the willingness to just sit and enjoy wherever it is I find myself. Doesn't sound too bad, does it?

I feel about airplanes the way I feel about diets. It seems to me that they are wonderful things for other people to go on. 
~Jean Kerr, "Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall," The Snake Has All the Lines, 1958

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