I confess that I am one of those unusual people who actually enjoys driving. I don’t know how I caught this illness, but I suspect that it might have been the summer after my Freshman year in college, when my buddy, Chris, and I drove from Chicago out to the Black Hills of South Dakota to camp on his uncle’s ranch while seeing the sights. I still remember Mt. Rushmore by moonlight. Quite a sight! Anyway, that time with my best friend might have done it. Or, it could have been an outgrowth of the many weekend (and occasional longer) trips I was a part of while touring with the Indiana Theatre Company while I was working on my M.A. I know the idea was well established before I was married, because when Bonnie and I moved to Cullowhee, I actually wasn’t all that upset by the 700-mile (each way) car trips home to the Chicago area to see our families. Even the then small, bored children couldn’t make that trip all that bad (which may say a good deal about Bonnie’s skills in keeping the children occupied on the lengthy trip). In those days, I did all the driving while Bonnie handled the “kid-bashing,” which was our term for what would be called “child wrangling” in the theatre.
In any event, Bonnie and I travel with some frequency right down to the present day, and, mostly by car. Obviously, we fly when we go across an ocean, or have to go a very long distance on a tight schedule, but, mostly, we drive. Somehow, we always seem to find things to talk about, or something to look at, or (on RARE occasions) something to listen to, which makes the time less boring and more pleasant. Audiobooks can be a treat, but we usually save them for when we have to drive alone. It’s also true that we share the driving a great deal more than we did “back in the day,” but that’s because I’ve always thought Bonnie was a good driver. In those days, she was just better at dealing with the kids than I was.
I suppose we drive most of the time because it’s convenient and tends to be a good deal cheaper than flying. That, probably, is also because we know that we are going to want/need a car when we get wherever we are going and renting one can be an expensive hassle. I also think it may have something to do with the fact that we enjoy being together, so the trip is part of the pleasure. For too many people, taking a vacation is, apparently, mostly about “being there,” with little thought to possible pleasure along the way. That’s not true for us. When we take a trip, it may include (often does) visiting friends and/or family, especially now that we are retired. But it also may include visiting places we love, like the Biltmore Estate, which can be combined with visiting some friends down North Carolina way.
Since it took a while for us to be able to sell our house there after we retired, we made quite a few trips back there just to check on the old house and deal with maintenance issues. Of course, we would combine those trips with visits to Biltmore and some of the other attractions of the area. In fact, we’re still Passholders to Biltmore and we still try to get back there several times a year as we do love to see the changes in the house decorations and walk in the gardens a bit. And we make other trips, as well. We’ve been known to go to Des Moines in Iowa, just for lunch, since we’re fond of having lunch at On the Border and we don’t have one in Omaha. We haven’t yet made the trip to Independence, MO, for the same reason, but we have talked about it. There’s also The Celtic Ranch in Weston, MO which is a bit of fun.
I confess that, while we love our kids, having traveled with them when they were small does make me see the humor of the following:
I probably should confess that I have noticed (perhaps it was always true) that Bonnie and I go about the process of preparation for a trip quite differently these days. Yes, we both consult the weather forecast for where we are going and for any stops along the way. But we tend to resort to fairly different approaches to packing.
In any case, I’ve done my share of travelling, and our recent trip got me to thinking about that. While doing so, I was reminded of something I ran across a few years ago and have modified to suit my real circumstances a bit. I would argue that each of these statements is (mostly) true.
I have been in many places, but I've never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can't go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.
I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.
I have, however, been in Sane. They don't have an airport; you have to be driven there. I have made a couple of trips there thanks to my friends, family, students, etc.
I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I'm not too much on physical activity anymore.
I have been in Decisive on occasions...at least I think so.
I have also been in Doubt, but it makes me uncomfortable. So, I try to live by the motto: Sometimes wrong, but never in Doubt.
I've been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to not bend, such as in grading standards, paper deadlines, and the like.
Sometimes I'm in Capable, and I go there more often as I'm getting older.
One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age, I need all the stimuli I can get!
And, sometimes I think I am in Vincible, but life frequently shows me that I am not.
People repeatedly tell me I'm in Denial, but I'm certain I've never been there before!
I have been in Trouble many times; the older I get it seems, the easier it is to get there.
I’ve actually been to Morrow. It’s a little town in Georgia just southeast of the Atlanta airport. We used to go shopping at Southlake Mall there, many years ago.
I probably should admit that travelling isn’t as easy for me now as it used to be. My mid-seventies body likes to remind me that I’m not as young as I used to be, so I don’t travel as easily as I did “back in the day.” Still, I manage to get around reasonably well and we still have a good time, although at, perhaps, a somewhat slower rate than we used to maintain. I expect we’ll keep travelling when the wanderlust kicks in, so I’m not going to complain.
While all of us aren’t as young as we used to be, I hope that all of my friends still manage to enjoy the pleasures of at least occasional travels. As Roy and Dale used to say, “Happy trails to you, ‘til we meet again.”