We are not traveling this year. Definitely, positively, no ifs ands or buts. No one can make me.
For the last eight years we’ve flown or driven across some or all of the United States two to six times a year. And moved three times. And endured three major surgeries between us. We’re tired and we’re taking an eighteen month break. It didn’t help that the dentist and the veterinarians ate all our travel money.
It seems as if, for those years, we were continuously either packing or unpacking. Or both at the same time. My sweetheart enjoys making reservations, plotting routes, organizing both the luggage and me. I love the excursions she comes up with: long, narrow roads, high-end thrift stores, new birding sites. But enough is enough. Even she cried uncle this year.
We were in such a quandary. How could we bear not to see our friends?
So many of them go to the Golden Crown Literary Conference—and it’s in New Orleans this year! Also in NOLA is the Saints and Sinners Literary Conference which we haven’t been able to attend for a few years due to creeping exhaustion. Then there is Woman’s Week in Provincetown.
We won’t get to see our birth families this year either. Will they ever be able to travel here? We dearly want to show off our little bit of Oregon. When you grow up on the East Coast, the Pacific Northwest may as well be a foreign country and anyone who moves here seems to have dropped off the edge of earth.
I am rubbing my hands with glee, though, because we’re withholding our funds from the dreaded airlines. Oh, the agony of flying these days.
If not for friends, families and readers, so far away, I’d never get on a plane again. As if the inhumane overcrowding in the name of profits were not enough, on our last flight east we were stuffed into newly designed seats. I didn’t think the travel industry could make the darned things any more narrow, but they’ve achieved maximum narrowness and minimum cushioning. Subway seats are more comfortable.
Staying home will make life easier for my sweetheart, of course. I might finally stop losing my glasses, keys, cash, bookmarks, favorite pens, pills, to do lists and—the dog! Oh, no, did I leave the dog outside?
The stress of travel (or anything else) causes my misplacement malady. Giving up travel for a good long while may help me stop forgetting appointments, and chores, and where I parked the car and—the dog! Oh, no, does the dog need to go out? She’s sixteen and—whoops.
Other symptoms of my too-much-travel syndrome include tripping and/or knocking over one out of every several items in my path. Dropping small, large and medium items and everything in between. Making plans and forgetting them. Listening to someone and tuning back in after I realize I’ve tuned out. Doing everything too fast, as if being pursued by the monster under my bed. Trying to remember if the cat is still out on the fenced but roofless catio, exposed to the eagles. Doing hand-to-hand combat with the book I’m working on to make it reveal itself.
The house is blanketed with index cards which act like an external hard drive for my memory. But can I find them when I need them? Why do I expect to remember that I’ve written down something I was likely to forget? I’m really looking forward to the peace of stability. It’s been three months since our last trip, when we finally had time to use a gift certificate and got a one-night honeymoon at a hotel half an hour from home. It was a relief to return home the very next day.
Yet I am repeatedly tempted to renege on our vow to stay put.
I was going to take my sweetheart to Pat O’Briens in NOLA for her first time. I had my inaugural and last mint julep there the year of Stonewall and never forgot it—obviously.
My friend Carol and I always spend an afternoon buying each other birthday gifts in Provincetown. I’ll miss that in particular this year and probably next as we may be limited to one trip a year.
And my new Dunks’ mug? Where can I use that? Dunkin’ Donuts hot tea and jelly donuts are a New England tradition. As is the first view of the Atlantic Ocean driving into Provincetown.
There is nothing like spending days with all lesbians all the time.
Last year when we left the Golden Crown conference I felt 20 years old again. Those amazons, those lesbians, and the gay guys in P’town and NOLA, are the essence of why I write The Amazon Trail. I need their inspiration.
At least I won’t be bereft from missing the cat and dog this year, although they may be better off with our pet sitter. She’d never misplace them.