We are planning to move to Paris next year (Why We’re Moving), so we decided to take an exploratory trip to Paris to check out schools, neighborhoods, croissants. We’ll stay a week.
Since this is a travel blog I find myself in the unusual (for me) circumstance of showing you what’s in my suitcase. While this seems a bit voyeuristic, I’m willing to do what bloggers do and show you the junk in my trunk.
There is a lot of travel advice floating around out there, and I’ve found that after you’ve read the first ten articles on any given topic, you’ve read them all. The ones that truly mystify me, however, are the ones about long-haul flights. There are a few things you can do to prepare, but the main thing you need is to remember that you’re going either a) somewhere fantastic, or b) home, and that no matter how miserable you are, it’ll all be over in 15 hours. You can stand anything for 15 hours
With so many horrible acts of terrorism this past week, I began to think about how terrorism affects travel. Should you alter your travel plans when bad things happen?
I realize that our quandary in no way compares to the devastation that has happened in France, Lebanon, and Egypt this past week, but because our family is privileged to be able to plan some wonderful travel during the next few years, we must consider world events. Even when they are far away, global events change the way we plan our lives and the way we view our world. Here’s what I’ve experienced before.
My parents, while by no means rich, taught me to love traveling. My older sister and her husband moved to England, and my mother and I visited her there when I was six and again when I was nine. I saw Loch Ness, watched an Agatha Christie play in London, ate real fish and chips, and visited Shakespeare’s house. I bought a book of Wordsworth poems at Wordsworth’s house and camped in Scotland in a VW bus with a pop-up roof. Mom and I just accepted the fact that the English spell “color” as “colour” and say “tidy” instead of “spotless.” The people were lovely, and they made me feel lovely.
My father showed me a lot of the United States. We always traveled cheap, staying with relatives or in Motel 6, packing a “feed bag” full of snacks, and eating in cafes frequented by locals. My dad was a map genius and we often played a game while driving: I’d look at the Texas map and name two roads, and he could tell me in what city they intersected. Any roads. Genius. Even though my parents were divorced, they both valued travel and, together and apart, they shaped me into the movable person I am.
I don’t know about you, but I have a few needs now that I didn’t have before. The days of traveling with flip flops and a tote bag are over for me. (If you can still get by with that, carry on.) A few comforts from home help keep me from wearing out and getting travel fatigue. Nothing drastic, but these things make my trips a lot nicer.
I’m a high-functioning introvert, so I seem like a normal person most of the time. People talk to me. Also, people tend to ask me for help in public. I don’t know why. Somebody even asked me for directions in Shanghai. Do I look like I’m a native? Once I got mixed up in Vienna and sent 30 Romanian tourists in the opposite direction from their bus. I never saw them again. Sorry. Anyway, what you don’t see is that while I might look fine, as a fully-qualified introvert, I need time alone to recharge. People wear introverts out, being alone energizes us. Mid-way through a day out, I’m usually longing to find the nearest bathroom and lock myself in a stall until tomorrow comes. Actually, I’ve tried that, but my legs fell asleep. Here are some things that usually work for me.
My first guest post is by my son, Jacob, who is 17. Our teenagers have taken Megabus alone up and down California several times, and I highly recommend this mode of transportation. Service areas are growing, it’s cheap, the busses are clean and safe, and my kids liked the independence. Thanks, Jacob, for your review!
With children in college faraway, distant friends, and an elderly mother, I make a lot of weekend trips. I try to visit them for special occasions or just for fun, but I also never know when I’ll have to hit the road and visit somebody in the hospital--that’s part of being the in-between generation in a family. In the past year I drove to Los Angeles in the middle of the night when my daughter went to the ER and flew to Texas when my mother was in the hospital. (Everybody’s fine now, thanks.) Here's how I make sure I'm always prepared for a last minute weekend trip.