For the past two weeks I’ve been either standing in line or racing for trains, buses and planes; dragging my old bones up and down stairs and city streets; asking friendly-looking natives for directions, then getting lost anyway; waking up in unfamiliar places; eating too many fatty dishes and not enough vegetables; and spending dizzying amounts of money. In case you haven’t guessed, I’ve been traveling.
A few days into our trip to London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Dublin, and London again, Jack and I remembered just how stressful traveling can be. I’d planned early morning flights, wanting to wrest as many sightseeing hours as possible from our two-week sojourn. I forgot that an eight o’clock flight often entails dragging oneself out of bed by three or four in the bleary-eyed morning. I didn’t anticipate our exhausted arrival and subsequent need to rest for most of the day.
If we could teleport ourselves, traveling would be far easier. I imagine packing a light suitcase, closing my eyes, clicking my heels together, and finding myself standing in front of a reception desk in the hotel I’ve booked, smiling and refreshed.
How empowering to avoid inescapable, time-wasting airport lines; boarding procedures that resemble nothing so much as cattle calls; and TSA security measures that feel scary and intrusive. How serene to escape captivity with screaming, kicking and/or otherwise ill-behaved children; deadly flatulators and other gasbags; and pushy, rude adults.
If we could be beamed up, there’d be so many more hours to catch up with old friends, view idyllic countrysides replete with critters and castles, and cityscapes created centuries ago. We could concentrate on choosing the best and most affordable restaurants; searching for exciting local entertainment. trying exotic food; learning some local history; and striking up conversations with new people.
Getting there is part of the experience, insist the rabidly upbeat. Others claim that traveling offers opportunities to practice patience. I suspect I should make further attempts to adjust my attitude, but I’d rather be beamed up.