Tag: walk

My Love-Hate Relationship with Travel

It’s been a mild winter. And except for the excess of gray days, I’m dealing with it rather than dreaming about escaping to a land of blue skies, tank tops and all natural Vitamin D. Still, there are travel plans in my winter.
This time, it’s a “work” trip. I’m attending my first ever writer’s retreat, and it just happens to be in Destin, Florida. (I know, how sad to travel to Florida in February).
A couple days before my departure, Old Man Winter decides to make a visit to the Pacific Northwest. That nice guy dumped several inches of snow on the ground after teasing us with the idea several times during January and February. This storm will blow over before my flights are affected.
Or an Arctic system will drop on top of the mass of moisture, depositing more snow on my front lawn.
My husband drove through sideways snowfall to take me to the airport. It wasn’t bad enough to cancel or delay my flight, was it?

Nope.

I arrived in San Francisco (I’m taking a circuitous route to the Emerald Coast, one of the things I don’t love about traveling) early. Excellent. Plenty of time to find breakfast and lunch to take on the next flight.
There’s a funny story here about a misplaced spoon for consuming the yogurt parfait I purchased for breakfast. Punch line: I found the plastic utensil in my purse after I’d finished eating the yogurt.
Everything’s on time as we travelers board the plane heading to Houston (this is the longest flight on my trip). “All systems are go,” says the pilot (okay, he didn’t say that but that’s what he meant).
Then we sit at the gate. Alas, the plane backs up. This false hope is followed by a brief respite a few feet away from the gate.

“Our runway assignment is changed,” the pilot informs us. (Yes, he actually said that.)

He taxis the 737 away from the gates. San Francisco Bay comes into view (I didn’t realize it was so large until we flew over it earlier) to the right of the plane. My window seat offers me an impressive view of flocks of waterbirds living large in the eddies along the edge of the runways.
Blue skies mean nothing. There are gusting winds in San Francisco, forcing the Air Travel Know-alls to require all flights into SFO to use the same runway as those departing.

For once I didn’t envision a mid-air crash. I have places to be.

At some point (about 40 minutes after the stated departure time), the plane picks up speed and we’re in the air.
I won’t bore you with the mundane details.
Suffice it to say that this flight landed at Houston about 30 minutes before my final flight was supposed to depart.
It landed in Terminal C. My next flight is on a small express shuttle, and those depart from Terminal B.
I’ve never been to Houston. I have no idea how near (or far) these terminals are. My husband is texting me with details about some Sky Tram, but I see no signs for it. I do see arrows pointing to Terminal B.
So I walk. Make that a power walk (which is about 1 mph faster than my normal walk, 4 mph. Let’s face it some people don’t even jog at 5 mph, so I’m rushing through the airport, dodging slow travelers, and trying not to bowl over those people who wander like sleepwalkers.)

When I make it to the B Terminal, they haven’t announced my flight. Whew!

My shoulder throbs from the pressure of my laptop bag. My feet flame like the friction of walking ignited them.
The flight is announced. We head down stairs into another tunnel of gates. Then we stand in our respective boarding group lines for close to 30 minutes.
Waiting on a crew.
I ran through the airport for this? I’m panicking about missing my shuttle to the retreat and the CREW OF ONE meant to serve us a drink and hand us a pack of ten mini pretzels hasn’t arrived?
There are a few bags that haven’t made it either. Other people’s connecting flights arrived late. As a woman on my previous flight informed me, “If you have checked luggage, they won’t leave without it.”
Eventually, I made it to my destination. I didn’t miss the shuttle. There were four other women waiting to catch it too.


But all this heart-pounding had me thinking about my love-hate relationship with travel. What do I love about it? What do I not like?

Things I love about traveling:

  • Seeing new places
  • Escaping rain to find sunshine
  • An excuse to eat trail mix
  • Trying new food
  • Experiencing new cultures

A list of hateful travel possibilities:

  • Crowds of people
  • Late flights
  • Traffic
  • Delayed flights
  • Screaming babies and small children
  • Chatty seat mates
  • Airplane restrooms

Don’t judge me for these short lists. I really do enjoy traveling. But I’m not a huge fan of traveling by myself.
This is why I’m married to Mr. World Traveler (aka Mr. Wonderful) because he always takes care of the headache-inducing aspects of travel. And if that isn’t wonderful, I don’t know what is.
Do you like to travel? What’s your favorite mode of travel? What don’t you like about that mode?

When girlfriends get together

3 girlfriendsOnce upon a time there were three teenage girls. Two of them lived in the same apartment complex. Yes, neighbors can be friends.

The third girl needed real friends. She had been dumped by her church friends when she became a cheerleader. And dumped by her cheerleading friends when she quit the team.

And so, girl three tumbled over a hurdle and one of the neighbors had to carry her into the locker room. It was the start of a wonderful friendship – one that has been real and true, surviving relocation, divorce, deaths and long silences.

The other Neighbor girl arrived late to the party. Her family moved into the apartment complex a year later. Before long, she was invited into the tight friendship circle. After all, a circle contains numberless points.

Fast Forward Thirty Years

After many years of separation, the last girl added to the circle reconnected with the other girls. Yes, thank you, Facebook. It started with a lunch. Who knew they had lived so close to each other all this time?

The other lady (yes, none of them are girls any longer) lives in a different state. In this era, that means nothing. But the Internet can only take you so far.

Thus, a girlfriend weekend was planned.

Who

Obviously, this author is one of the three women in this friendship.

The woman from the other state, L1, is a computer geek. Okay, an IT specialist for the county where she lives. Do any of the rest of us really understand what that means? (Do we want to?)

These two women had spent several weekends together, but it had been many years. At the mention of it, the third friend wanted to experience this great method for catching up and relaxing (as well as escape from familial stress for two days).

The third woman, L2, has been struggling to raise her orphaned nephew. She works in transportation. She’s the only one who still has both of her parents (and they are the reason she lives so close to this author).

What

This was a Friday-Saturday getaway. A central location was agreed upon (more on that later) and a hotel room secured.

“What are we going to do?”

The location was a high desert, so the mid-spring weather promised to be dry. The hotel was located along a river walk.

“We’ll play it by ear.”

That’s part of the adventure anyway, isn’t it?

Besides, this weekend was mainly about reconnecting with old friends. That meant talking. Who needs to be entertained when you have two friends to chat with?

Where

Richland, Washington was chosen for this first get-together. (Yes, first, meaning there will be a second). L1 reserved a room at a Shilo Inn along the river.

Ms. Writer picked up L2 at a shopping mall near her home. They carpooled down the interstate, chattering like squirrels on speed. What better way to make the miles fly?

A nearby baseball tournament filled the motel with teenage boys on Friday night. Which turned out to be an interesting twist since someone brought a shoe box full of old notes (more on that later).

To say the motel was dated is being kind. At least it was clean. The pool was out of service and the weather promised to hit the high 70s. But the river trail was wide and paved and headed past two marinas and some interesting condos and restaurants.

Friday was a late night. No one could believe the collection of notes from 1981-1983. Not even L1, who called herself the keeper of historical documents. Sounds better than pack rat, I suppose.

Girlfriend Historical Records

What to Do

Talk. Walk. Try to shop. Talk. Walk. Eat out. Talk. Walk. Talk.

3 girlfriends

And before we blinked three times, it was Sunday morning and we were checking out.

Parting felt painful. The goodbyes were stretched through a milkshake at Applebee’s.

3 girls goodbyeSomeone got to take a nap on the drive home. But only a short one, and more conversation followed the sleep.

“We have to do this again.”

And so, same time next year, the trio will travel to Seattle. Reservations in a nice condo are already made.

The historical records? We hope the maids at the Shilo got as much laughter from reading them as we did.