“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat." -- Lily Tomlin

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Travel -- Too Much Trouble?

      I've been away from home for a little over a week, with a week to go. We've had a good time. But honestly, traveling today is more trouble than it used to be.

     There's the usual trouble of remembering car keys, room keys, iphone, reading glasses, distance glasses, bug spray, suntan lotion, my knee brace -- the list goes on. The reason we carry so much stuff? It's part of modern life (the iphone). And it's part of the aging process (the glasses, the knee brace). 

We're in Wisconsin, the dairy state 
     Then there's the more direct problem of aging. Everything seems to take a little longer, and is a little harder. The other night we went to an outdoor theater. That involved a quarter mile walk from the parking lot to the venue. Uphill. On a barely-improved path. It wasn't too bad. But the point is, when I was younger I would scamper up the hill without giving it a thought. Now I'm trudging up with an aching knee.

     Our habits are also more set in their ways. Where are we going to have breakfast? Will they have the right food? I can't handle heavy foods in the morning. Not anymore. No eggs or sausage. Cereal and orange juice and coffee. I prefer half-caff. I didn't care in the slightest when I was younger. Now I'm more set in my ways.

     Then there are the problems caused by Covid. Our current hotel has two dining areas. One is indoors, And we're not eating indoors. So we can't go to that restaurant. The other option is an outdoor snack bar, with McDonald's quality food. We had breakfast there one day. Ugh. Upset stomach. Not again. So today we're heading into town to try to find something more to our liking.

     When I was growing up? I ate whatever they put in front of me. No questions, no complaints. But my system simply can't handle an unaccustomed diet anymore.

Rockin' in Spring Green, WI
     Is travel still worth it? Well, yesterday we took a tour of a Frank Lloyd Wright house (more on that next post). Then we went for a swim. We got to see our grandchild. We spent a couple of interesting hours at a Wisconsin historical museum. We went for a kayak trip.

     Last night we drove into town, took a walk around. We stumbled on a little park where an eight-piece band was playing a mini-concert. A local crowd. Some great music. We had dinner there -- just some hot dogs and hamburgers off a grill. But it was great local flavor, in more ways than one.

     So, yes, it's worth the trouble. Don't you think? 

27 comments:

Arkansas Patti said...

So glad you salvaged a fun time. For me the getting there is no longer the fun that it use to be. Being there good, coming back has also lost its glamour. Doing more staycations now and letting others come to me.

Rian said...

I agree that traveling is not as much fun as it used to be... for all the reasons you mentioned, Tom. But I think the answer is to do it, but in limited quantities - as it takes lots of preparation - not like when young and one could just jump up and go. And to be honest, trying to do 'too much' in a short period of time is tiring. But seeing the kids is always worth it.

Olga said...

The news had a segment about the mumber of people travelling this holiday weekend -- also the price of gas and the possibility of flight cancellations factored in that report. I am glad to be staying put at the moment. I don't mind travel -- I just mind when everyone else is doing it.

jono said...

We do seem to be more deliberate and thoughtful about travels now, for all the reasons you mention and then some. I needed to find work and there is a lot available, however many of the jobs require physical performance that I wouldn't have thought twice about twenty or even ten years ago. Thank goodness for Social Security which makes up the difference.

Pam said...

Well this post is the truth, in my opinion. My husband and I were just talking about how we used to take big trips, spread over weeks. We'd eat anything and everything, at any time of the day or night. We'd take every tour and hike in the area. We both concurred we are really glad that we did it when we were younger. We were highly motivated because our son was in the Air Force for 20 years and we tried to travel to see him. Those family times were always a highlight, and still are. As we age, it seems life gets more complex, but I'm sure glad to still be here, wrinkles, finicky stomach, bum knees, etc. Oh gosh, I didn't even mention the challenge of trying to sleep while traveling...

gigi-hawaii said...

I agree that age has taken its toll. Hence, we don't travell off island anymore. I traveled to 13 foreign countries so I can always recall the thrill of seeing new places. Gigi hawaii

Kay said...

I guess this is why we decided to go on our Viking cruise. They promised COVID testing each morning, etc. And we figured we'd use our N95s everywhere. Luckily and happily all three couples remained COVID free and our ship had only about 30 cases that they reported. We had a great time... but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for next time. It seems more and more people (family members and friends) are contracting the virus lately.

DJan said...

I haven't yet missed traveling, since it's such an ordeal these days. I'll eventually feel better about it, but not while people who are as careful as Anthony Fauci are catching the virus these days, I'm just not ready. It sounds like your wonderful impromptu concert and dinner were just perfect, though. :-)

Miss Merry said...

Perfect timing on the post. I returned yesterday from a week at the beach with my daughter. Driving was a nightmare. Road construction, detours, campers chugging 15 miles under the speed limit. Worry about stopping at restrooms and for food. Broke my glasses the first day and didn't bring a spare. Had to wear my prescription sunglasses. Too many steps and hills. Too much money for so-so meals. I enjoyed getting away, but maybe not enough to do it again. I'm exhausted.

Red said...

For the elderly travel is difficult. For me it's difficult because I haven't travelled for a long time.

Tom said...

About the price of gas -- it was about $5.09 or $5.19 per gallon when we left 10 days ago. Now it's actually down a bit, to $4.49 for our fill-up yesterday. Still a lot. But when you consider all the expenses of a two-week trip, an extra $10 to $15 per tank (we're on our fourth tank; we're averaging 32 - 34 mpg in our Subaru) doesn't seem like all that much. Now ... don't get me started on the campers and the trucks and the road construction!

DrumMajor said...

Yep, I'm moving slower too. Would still like to travel. Linda in Kansas

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Hi Tom!

Yes very timely post indeed! My husband and I are just entering our third, yes third MONTH of travel in Europe this summer. We had planned to come before COVID hit for a shorter time but if COVID and a few other health issues taught me anything it was that it was time to DO IT now before any more time goes by. Sure it is easier to stay home (much easier these days) but how old will we be a year from now? Two years? Again, best to do it now if we can and have the inclination.

Of course I also acknowledge your other concerns. As we were getting ready to go out and explore the other day we had to do dozens of things just to leave the house. Hardly thought about it when we were younger. It is more complicated and troublesome and yes, we've had a few minor health things to make it MORE complicated, but again, we likely would have had them if we stayed home. In some ways COVID is less of an issue where we've been (we've been fairly careful but not fanatical) and were just tested to enter Portugal so I know we are COVID free right now. At home it seems much more of a concern. And because it is summer we are eating outdoors 95% of the time, wearing masks if necessary, and did I mention how great (and fresh and healthy) the food is in Europe?

Plus I know that as we age a lot of people do physical exercise to try to keep their body in shape. Well guess what? If you travel to the places we've gone you walk your LEGS off and we are both losing weight and feeling very healthy. Funny how the body responds.

At the same time I know lots of people do brain exercises (crossword puzzles, learning a new language, etc.) to keep their minds young and healthy. Guess what? Planning and coordinating travel for three months is one of the GREATEST brain exercises I've ever done. I feel like I've learned three new languages in the course of a few months. Fortunately with all the hundreds of details that this trip involves I've only made a couple of misses so I count that as doing very well.

Of course we are also taking good care of ourselves. Daily siestas are wonderful. We are sleeping pretty well too...yes CBD oil has been available everywhere we go... Like I mentioned the food is wonderful and all far more fresh and less processed so our bodies are doing well. Walking, walking everywhere!

Plus we are seeing things I only read and dreamed about. We figured we were only going to get older (God willing) so we'd better do it while we can. There will hopefully be plenty of time to stay home and stay comfortable with our routines.

Thanks for helping me think all this through. You KNOW I'll be writing a blog post about whether I think it was all worth it after we get home again. Until then, the adventure continues. ~Kathy

Hjack said...

I love Wisconsins’ unofficial motto, “Come smell our dairy aire”.

Savoring Sixty and Beyond said...

We still love to travel and find it is worth every effort we make to get there. Traveling readjusts my attitude, cleanses my spirit and keeps me young. I dread the day when we find it a bother.

Tabor said...

Travel is always a challenge and requires quick decisions. Since we are older that is the hardest part. If your hotel room has a fridge get some cereal and milk and bread and jam, perhaps. We are going on a longer car trip soon and I am already worried.

Rita said...

I'm not traveling much due to the continuing pandemic. Nine hours on planes to Madrid with no one wearing a mask doesn't seem safe to me. My daughters visited last year -- I think it's safer for young people to travel to see me. Later this month, my daughter and the twins are coming from Madrid. Then we're all going to go to Sacramento to see my other daughter. I'll be wearing my mask. Also, the covid count is high in the county where I live. Health officials have advised the public to wear masks again and social distance again. But, people aren't doing it. Week before last, six people died in my county; two of them were young people. The pandemic isn't over -- far from it.

Wisewebwoman said...

Thanks for writing about this Tom. I found one of the major challenges when I took a long trip last summer was the effing pills. Planning the over two weeks containers of all my pills going into a remote area. Remembering George, my trusty cane, was another, Remembering him everywhere, forgetting a mini-knapsack (I had a big one) for day trips, etc.
It takes oodles of planning.
And it was worth it for me. Even though I had a bad fall and was laid up for a while. I cherish the memories.
XO
WWW

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Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Oh, the aches and aggravations that accompany our travels now. And yet...so worth it! (Once I'm home and looking at the pictures...)

David @iretiredyoung said...

Hi Tom,
I agree that travel is worth it for the reasons that you mention at the end of your post.

But I also think it's important that we continue to do things even with the challenges of travel that you describe, and equally do other things that we might find more difficult as we age. My logic is that if we avoid these things, life might seem easier today, but it will be a slippery slope. I believe we need to continue to challenge our minds and bodies in order to keep sharp, and therefore to be in a position to keep on enjoying life to the fullest as we start to get a little older.

Laurie Stone said...

I've become such a homebody in my old age, although I know I still have a few good trips left in me, maybe even to Europe, but I'm in no hurry to get there. I see videos of these 'on the go all the time' vacations and they look exhausting.

Rebecca Olkowski said...

Travel has become a physical sport and airlines, especially, don't make it all that easy. It's worth it, though. I would keep traveling until I dropped if I could afford it.

Meryl Baer said...

Yes, it is worth it. But we make accommodations for our age. We don't overschedule our days, leave time to 'smell the roses', and are flexible with travel arrangements. And try not to get too upset when things go wrong.

Linda Myers said...

We got back yesterday afternoon from a two-week cruise with Road Scholar. Small ship - capacity 300 passengers, we only had 174. The hardest part of the whole thing was the airports. We splurged for business class tickets and Art got wheelchair assist in Seattle and London. We were in a "relaxed" group on port calls - a little less walking (but not much). We didn't attend every lecture, none of the evening music events. Read a lot! What we didn't feel like doing, we didn't do. I did find that the walking (I took a cane, and used it for all the port calls) was great PT for my still-healing fake hip and my cranky knee. I suspect we'll travel less now, but I don't think we're done yet.

Our group was 24 people and eight of them tested positive for covid at some point and were confined to their cabins until they got a negative test. We escaped that. We tested again this morning and are still negative - but if we picked it up at Heathrow or Sea-Tac it won't have shown up yet.

Rob J said...

On the road now for 2 weeks-2nd trip to Boston this year, the first in January. Primarily for my part time business but also seeing family. Have been to London twice on business this year also combined with personal travel, once to Ireland and once to Switzerland. Also to Florida once for a week and to an NC beach (we are in NC) for a recent weekend. While trying to be prudent with the virus, I am determined to take calculated risks to enjoy our lives and travel. Certainly not going to let a few obstacles and aches and pains affect our well-earned fun in retirement. Also staying active at home