It is summer again and the great outdoors beckon with promises of new places, new people, and new vistas just begging to be experienced. We seniors may not be capable of hiking Machu Picchu (although my wife is steadily dropping hints along those lines) or interested in enduring an African safari but there are options for every taste and fancy. Just Do It is our shared mantra as we retirees endeavor to live our lives to the fullest with a knowledge that the clock is ever ticking. And true to our evolving stubborn natures, we refuse to let little aches and pains of advancing years dominate our plans – influence a bit maybe but dictate NEVER!
So we begin by examining our handy atlas to identify the possibilities. Ocean or mountains? Near people or far from the writhing masses? Lots of things to see and do or just chill time? Close to home or via plane, train or bus? A familiar location with proven cuisine and service or some place not yet explored?
The options are many but these days there is something new that becomes part of the selection process. As youthful adventurers, it was all about the location. Getting there was a forgone conclusion. Ten hours on a plane was taken for granted – no biggie. But as the years pass, it is no longer just about WHERE we choose to go but what is involved in getting there. The destination is sometimes only as beautiful as the road to get there!
Considerations of an aging road warrior
Let me know if your thought process does not go something like this as you contemplate options and plan your trip:
<>I accept that we have to fly to get there but how much time will we have to spend in the airport? If the flight is 3-4 hours and we are looking at 1.5 hours on the front end plus another 1.5 hours upon arrival by the time we find our luggage and get a rental car, is it worth it? Or with that much time spent in transit, should we go farther? How far do we need to journey to make it worth the time required to get there? I find the range is reducing all the time.
<> How big a suitcase do I need? I tend to run a bit cooler these days so even if we are going some place “warm” I will need to pack just in case the mercury drops. And I like my slippers at night so make room and of course my bathrobe that fits me so well. Short pants as well just in case. One nice shirt. Clothes to work out. Casual clothes. Casual but not too casual clothes. Hmm – I wonder if that suitcase is going to be big enough…
<>What books do I bring? Back to the packing challenge, what will I most likely be interested in reading when we arrive at our destination? I need something “mindless” for when I exercise and ride the bike; something involving nature/science as that is always intriguing; something thought provoking, a bit spiritual; something specific to our destination; an autobiography about someone famous or at least interesting; etc. I may need a second suitcase for books alone!
<> Checklist of things I cannot forget – medications, sunscreen, flashlight, bottle opener, dark glasses, reading glasses, drinking glasses, a few good wines (might not be able to find them wherever we arrive), belt, binoculars (its whale season pretty much somewhere all the time), camera, various munchie foods (pretzels, granola bars, rail mix, nuts, fruit)…anything else?
The days of spontaneity are a distant memory. If I don’t plan, I risk forgetting something and then mercy me where would I be?
Personally I look forward to my next trip where ever it may be. I know that I may travel a bit overburdened even over prepared but that works for me.
I can safely assume that upon my arrival I will fill a little plate of choice snacks, open my bottle of wine and pour it into a nice wine glass, break out my book du jour, don my slippers and bathrobe, and find a nice nook that overlooks the ocean or mountains or forest or stream or whatever. And it will be just fine.