Let’s muse over a cuppa and peanut butter cookies.
Today is the day before the day we leave for our trip to Ireland.
Do you know the kind of person who could live for a week out of her purse…the kind of person who always has spare mouthwash, an extra sweater, your choice of drugs, and a dog leash stuck in her purse? The kind of person who could go on Let’s Make A Deal and when Monty asked for a pink hard-boiled egg, she could dig into her purse and produce it?
I am not that person.
I am lucky if I can find an old Starbucks napkin, in my purse, to wipe my nose on. I’m a careful packer, a thoughtful packer—I MAKE LISTS. But more than likely, we will arrive at our destination without the one item that would have come in “really handy.” Yes, of course I can buy anything we really need; I have a whole drawer full of really needed vacation items, I have purchased over the years. I used to be annoyed by my packing flaws but now I see them as an adventure. I arrived in Italy in the middle of a heat wave and a suitcase full clothes that made me glow just to look at them. I wanted to be appropriately dressed for the museums and the Vatican. After one day of suffering from the heat in the wrong clothes, I bought six Italian t-shirts from a vendor and wore one every day with my hair pulled up in a ponytail. There are not a lot of pictures of me on that trip but I was comfortable. It is supposed to be chilly and wet in Ireland, which is a lot better travel weather for us than muggy and hot; I look better in a hoodie than I do in a t-shirt.
Our electronics are packed. Two laptops (Cole wants to take his and who am I to say NO), one iPad, one small video camera, two iPhones, and my beloved camera and lenses. Our hotel reservations (the few I made) were booked with the Internet in mind, not charm. The countryside, the attractions can provide charm—the hotel, the Internet.
Recently, a friend asked if I was worried about safety—traveling alone, driving, taking so many gadgets. Nope, I told him, we hold firmly to the thought that we will be safe and well cared for along with our belongings. I added that of course we take common-sense precautions. However, I am pretty sure the world is not out to get me, especially on vacation. My friend then went on to tell me a lengthy travel horror story he had 15 years ago.
I call my friends, thinking—”Mt Vernon, Il. thinking”…here, have a peanut butter cookie and I will explain. Have two.
Twenty years ago, my parents drove to Chicago with their two dogs to visit me and were stuck for two nights in Mt. Vernon because of a blizzard and frozen car battery. Now, I agree, being stuck in Mt. Vernon in a blizzard is a nightmare, and having to walk two dogs used to sunshine and dry grass in a blizzard is awful, but my parents were safe in a hotel, with enough warm clothes to travel the Alps by foot, the battery was fixed, and they safely arrived in Chicago just a little behind schedule.
However, my dad has run every trip to Chicago over the last 20 years ,regardless of the travel season, through the “OH MY GOD we could be stuck in Mt. Vernon” past experience lens. No amount of planning or safeguarding or weather watching can help him. The fact that they have driven to Chicago successfully many times since Mt. Vernon means nothing. It happened once. It could happen again. Of course, my dad would say he was just being realistic and a good planner. My Mom? Feel sorry for her—very sorry for her…she has to travel with my dad to Chicago who is sure doomsday is just around the next corner.
If I were to base my trip planning on Mt. Vernon thinking, I would never plan another trip. Joe went to his reward 10 days before we left for Italy. And I will admit, when I was planning our trip to Ireland, I had the thought, “Sheesh, someone could die.” It did happen. Once. But I replaced the “Someone could die” thought with…”Well it could have been worse…Joe did not die in Italy” and “What is the chance of that happening again?” I make a choice not to run my current life experiences through bad past experience. This works for me. Of course, it might also mean I am not realistic or a good planner but let me just go on record by saying that this is not my daddy’s fault. He tried.
Time for me to mussie-on-along…I have to count my electronic chargers again.
Please don’t leave me without sharing your travel stories—funny ones with happy-ever-after endings, please! Maybe our odd friend Nancy will share in the comments the very funny story of almost drowning her family on vacation. Odd Loves Company!