Allow me to gripe for a moment. Or moments.
TWM is the WORST, right?
From the elegant Via Rail worker doused in three litres of sickly sweet perfume with the ultimate lingering power to the physical strain on my delicate, unreasonably tense neck muscles from a foolishly oversized suitcase, I’m a bit of a wreck.
Then there’s the city/countryside/clouds whizzing by at inhuman speeds, inducing nausea and brain pain. (Are we meant to go this fast? Really?) Also, the incessant release of gaseous toxins by my travelling companion.
There’s also the delicious, tasty, alluring, and necessary variety of foods presented by extraordinary hosts and mothers who live to feed. How can I possibly stick to my stupidly restricted diet while inhaling the aroma of (aged) cheese-soaked broccoli, tortiére, and world-famous melt-in-your-mouth dinner rolls? Beats me.
Then there are beds: beautifully made and perfectly warm, with a cat even. But they’re not my bed. The pillow height is all wrong; it’s too sinky; I can detect a faint hint of Tide; is that a GD pea under the mattresses?
ANDFORTHELOVEOFGOD, how, HOW, do some old men find the stamina to listen to their own cranked-volume voices amongst silence of travelling strangers for five. hours. straight?
I am tempted to swear off travelling altogether for the trouble it causes. Two severe attacks in 48 hours doesn’t usually happen at home, but when it does, it feels like the shits. When it happens far from home, it feels like the shits with a cherry on top. But even now, on the heels of a trip that brought me so much pain, I can’t disregard the joys of travelling.
For one thing, my travelling companion, despite the stench clouds, is fairly entertaining and fun to go places with.
If I hadn’t travelled to see some of the people I saw (wonderful, beautiful people), I would not have seen them for a very, very long time.
A change of scenery sparked new ideas and understanding about how people live in places and circumstances different than my own. This real-life experience cannot be replaced by literature and film.
Can I give this stuff up? Beats me. Right now I’ll say yes, but I reserve the right to change my mind in case of emergencies, free trips won via sweepstakes, or mood swings.
Even with oodles of preparation and strategies, there is just so much out of our control when TWM. For the next little while, Skype is gonna have to pick up the slack, and some of you better come visit me. I have chocolate and wine. Lots of it. Just for you. See you soon!