Leaving and Returning

IMG_2764I’m sure most of us have all taken long trips/vacations. Whether they are just to places not far from home or continents away they are usually something that we plan for and look forward to with a great deal of excitement and anticipation.

We might google or read up on all of the sites along the way, places of interest where we are going and certainly places to eat or party when we arrive at our destination.

Generally the closer the time comes for us to leave the more antsy and excited we become to head out on our adventure. Such trips take us away from work, school, responsibilities and the day-to-day worries which we are certain will all leave our consciousness once we depart from home.

The truth is though that despite all the fun we actually have on such trips, often our reality tends to find us. Something happens at work that “desperately needs our attention” so we get the phone call, someone in the extended family becomes ill while we are away or is hit with some sort of disaster or we end up getting a call from a neighbor telling us that a tree just fell on our house.

Even if we are lucky enough to have a totally stress free vacation/trip, which only the lucky few truly encounter, (something generally goes wrong at some point) the truth is the above scenarios often play out in our minds at some point in time.

I know this is going to come off as sounding a bit nostalgic but in some ways travelling in the past was a bit easier in some regards. There were no cell phones and devices for people to get ahold of us on or the internet to get us those dreaded messages, you could walk right into an airport and after checking in head right to your departing area and even take your entire family along to see you off.

In some regards this probably made for a much more relaxing trip.

Conversely though, I suppose it could cause even more stress for folks as they knew that if something did go wrong then they wouldn’t be able to know about it which in the end could lead to even more stress.

Bottom line (I just realized I say bottom line a lot sorry) we often end up at some point just wishing we were back home. Maybe the place we stayed at wasn’t as nice as we thought, maybe we got sick on our trip or the beds weren’t comfortable and we got little sleep or maybe the flight we took was long and tedious. The list could go on and on and I’m sure we all have our own war stories. (Please let me know about yours as it could make me feel better)

My wife and I just got back from a week and a half river cruise through Prague, Germany, Luxemburg and Paris. Since we had never gone on a real honeymoon we decided to bite the bullet and finally take one this year.

Since we got a half price deal for purchasing the trip early we did so last August when the deal was available for that price. I’ve never taken any sort of cruise before and am not really a cruise person but it seemed like a good way to go especially as I have tons of food allergies and I knew they would take care of it for me.

As we had tons of time between when we purchased the trip and when we were to depart, it left a lot of time to get really excited and research all of the places we were going to visit. As such we were pretty pumped up by the time we left.

Unfortunately for me I had just returned two days prior to the trip from driving our daughter Ashley out west so I was pretty tired by the time we landed in Prague after an all night flight with little sleep.

Bottom line though the trip was great. The ship and it’s staff were great as was the food since they took great care with my allergies, the sites we saw were fantastic and even though the weather was marginal it was well worth the price of admission.

But of course the trip wasn’t without it’s share of mishaps and problems. My wife Kathy was sick for the last week of the cruise and though a real trooper she ended up missing out on a lot of the fun. Even though it was nice to be cell device free, we couldn’t make or receive calls and since I didn’t want to be hit with roaming charges and as I never set up an access code for my phone I couldn’t get e-mails.

And go figure, I go the entire trip without suffering from any of my food allergies then on the flight home they served a curry dish and I nearly passed out from just smelling it. If I eat the stuff I can stop breathing and just smelling it can do almost the same. Fortunately the stewardess brought me a mask just in time or I might not be writing this post.

In addition, towards the end of our flight we hit extreme turbulence which made a lot of the passenger get sick, so by the time we landed the cabin smelled like puke.

So even though I have no regrets over taking the trip we found ourselves at the end of it just wishing we were home.

I can’t say I will never take an overseas trip again as I’m sure after some time I will only be left with the good memories but for certain it won’t be anytime soon.

Below are some random thoughts from the trip:

The small towns along the various rivers in Germany are amazing as is the food and the people. If I wasn’t a surfer I could live in any one of them in a heartbeat.

I can not fathom how much wine is grown in that region. There were vineyards seemingly everywhere.

I don’t drink wine so I can’t attest to how good it is but the beer choices were amazing.

Living in the states we have no clue as to what old really means especially after visiting places and buildings that are from BC.

I thought NY was the home of graffiti but Prague and Paris and some of the other bigger cities we visited had NY beat hands down.

The best hamburger I have ever eaten was at a turnpike stop we made along the way in France at a Buffalo Burger restaurant. Go figure.

I was embarrassed over how many of the locals spoke English. It made me feel bad that I could only speak their languages just a little.

We met a lot of great passengers but I most enjoyed getting to know some of the staff on the ship. They were down to earth and amazing.

If you like quiet, go to any little town in Germany. I think they invented quiet.

Thanks for checking in this week and I hope that any trip you take will be a great adventure and be stress free. I bet though that no matter how good it is that you’ll be as happy as we were to be home.

Aloha,

Paul

About authorpaulhayden

Author, artist, screenwriter, environmentalist. husband, father, surfer, surfing instructor, volunteer.
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