The Idea Versus The Practice

In all of my 54 1/2 years, I have found that the idea of something is usually preferable to the practice for me, with a few exceptions.

In other words, the thinking about doing something is found to be much more fun than the actual doing.

Case in point:  traveling.
I find I like the idea of traveling far more than the actual traveling.  I like the idea of going places far and wide, seeing new sights, tasting new foods, meeting new people and broadening my horizons.  But the actual traveling…meh, not so much.  First there’s the packing.  Something I dread and put off to the last minute.  I never know what to take along and stress that whatever I don’t include I will need and what I do bring along, won’t be used and then I’ve wasted space for that thing I didn’t bring that I should have.  Know what I mean Vern?  Trying to pack enough for those times when I spill on myself and don’t want to walk around all day with a stained shirt.  Enough socks and undies in case of accidents, – hey, you never know.  Do I pack warm clothes, cool clothes, etc…  So much to decide.  Jewelry, makeup?  And then there’s taking my meds along which is like packing the medicine cabinet from the bathroom.

Then there’s the actual trip which could be by plane, car, train or ship.  Our usual mode is either airplane or car.  I prefer the car as airplanes and airports have gotten really inconvenient and uncomfortable anymore.  You can’t even take your own bottle of water along.  You have to purchase it at the airport after you go through security.  Ridiculous.  And heaven forbid you should ask to stop along the way so you can get out and stretch or take a picture.  There’s security itself, where you’re scanned, patted, and all your belongings pawed through.  I like to pack things in my suitcase that will give the Pawers some pause.  No firearms or anything like that, but maybe handcuffs?  The endless waiting in chairs amongst a bunch of strangers which can sometimes be quite entertaining as I am a people watcher.  It can also be quite annoying as some people are loud and abrasive.  There are the cell phone talkers which I’ve been tempted more than once to have fun with, as in joining their conversation.  What?  You didn’t want me to join in?  I thought you were including me by speaking loudly in my presence.  My bad. Cell phone conversations in public are fair game.  Once aboard the plane, you’re smashed into a teensy, little seat, strapped in and made to wait some more.  And it’s usually hot, someone’s coughing on you and you’re sure you’re going to catch some awful disease or at the very least, a dreadful cold which will make you wish you had some awful disease and would die soon.

The plane ride is the least of my worries.  I’ve only had one where I was sick to my stomach.  I’m not afraid of crashing, so that’s not a problem.  My biggest problem there is the teensy tiny seats and the teensy, tiny bathrooms.  Oh, and the urge I always have when we hit some turbulence to scream, “We’re all going to die!!!” at the top of my lungs.  I don’t know why I think that would be fun, but I do.  It is these random and bizarre thoughts that get me in trouble.
Upon arrival, you have to wait until the hundred people in front of you gather up all their belongings and walk as slowly as they can off the aircraft before you’re allowed to get off.  Next stop is the luggage carousel where you pray your luggage shows up and that they haven’t either lost it or ruined it beyond use.  I will never again think I need to buy a set of matching new luggage. It was pretty well ruined on the first plane trip.  Grabbing your luggage off the carousel, you head for the doors and hopefully, a shuttle to your hotel, or the rental car agency where you stand in line again and pray they haven’t messed your reservation up.  It’s a kind of crap shoot to see what you will get there.

On to the hotel.  On one of our recent road trips, we decided to be free as the wind, didn’t plan, didn’t make reservations and would stop for the night when we got tired.  That didn’t work out so well.  Although we didn’t end up sleeping in our car, the room was not up to my standards.  I made the mistake of judging the accommodations by the way the lobby looked.  Come to find out, that’s not a good way to decide.  Always check the room.  We walked in to an audience of dead bugs.  A variety to be sure and at least they were dead, but not my idea of a welcome committee.  Checked the bed and didn’t see any bed bugs so decided we were too tired to leave.  After getting our luggage in from the car, we discovered some little flying bugs that were alive.  I think they were attracted by the light outside the door and flew in when hubby left the door open carrying bags in.  I fell asleep dreaming of things crawling on me.

My husband’s aunt absolutely loves staying in a hotel and being what she thinks of as pampered.  They make your bed for you, clean up your room, and bring fresh towels.  I, on the other hand, love staying in my own bed and using my own bathroom.  I have a thing for clean bathrooms and even a stray hair left behind can gross me out.  One of my many cousins recently posted on facebook that she took a shower at the motel, got out and noticed a brand new bar of soap still in the wrapper.  That’s when she realized that she had just used a bar of soap left by the last occupant.  No words.  But a lot of shuddering!  Those things don’t happen at home.  Any soap in the shower here has either been used by someone I sleep with or have given birth to.  Nothing that’s going to give me recurring nightmares.

Finding a place to eat can be an adventure all in itself.  We love the hotels that offer a free breakfast.  Some have even been a fully cooked breakfast and not the buffet that’s out for everyone.  But I can usually find something to my taste on those as well.  We’ve stumbled upon some great local places while out eating and that helps to fuel future adventurous dining choices instead of always sticking with the known chains.  Hubby’s gauge is to see if the parking lot is full or empty.  If none of the locals are eating there, chances are you don’t want to stop either.  We’ve also asked for referrals from staff and locals.  That’s a little chancy because just like taking some random person’s advice in the video store of a movie to watch (not mentioning any names here), it’s subject to the tastes of a stranger.  We’ve had good luck and not so good luck with that.

Public restrooms are my own personal nightmare.  Mostly because they smell and are frequently dirty.  I do like a clean bathroom!  I even prefer going behind a tree, to most public restrooms.  And that is all I’m going to say about that for the sake of not getting too gross or giving you tmi.  Too much information.

Lastly, I miss the comforts of home while I’m gone, the heating pad I use on my back first thing in the morning and the last thing at night.  My favorite coffee that makes getting out of bed worthwhile, and my recliner.  I have been known to take my heating pad and coffee along for use in the hotel room but I haven’t managed to stuff the recliner in my suitcase yet.  I’m still trying.

Happy Trails!

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6 thoughts on “The Idea Versus The Practice

  1. I took my boys to Costa Rica a couple of years ago. On my own. The trip itself was fun–truly an adventure. But I must admit, the packing, passports, drivers, remembering my Spanish, etc. could be stressful. I tried to remind myself it could also be exciting–sometimes I think our brain perceives the same feeling as either.

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