Sunday, March 03, 2013

On the Going... And the Coming Back

I have always been a fan of the open road. The high seas. Nothin' but the wind in my hair and the sun on my face, walking the road toward adventure.  Over all the years that I have been living, I have done quite a bit of traveling. I would spend weeks at camp.Weekends on trips out of the state.  Mission Trips and vacations. Here and there.  You would think (at least I would think) that I would become an expert at travel. 
Sadly, that is an incorrect assumption.  But after this week, two checked bags, a large purse and another carry on, a coughing fit, and the inability to make it through the airport with my luggage, I've realized my Vacationing technique is greatly amiss. While this is not comprehensive list, it is a start.

Clean before you go. Nothing greater than coming home to a clean place. No dishes, bed made. It's a great feeling when you arrive home and all you have to do is unpack your bags and throw yourself on your bed to sleep. Remember, you are going on vacation. Coming home to a mess, unvacations a person real quick! I'd like to point out, I was not quite this good this time around.

Take a packing class. Make more room for souvenirs! You can fit a lot in a suitcase, and possibly even more in three.  However, when you are not an efficient packer, it will not matter how many cases you have, it just ain't gonna happen.Don't pack 2 hours before you leave (especially when that means you are packing at 2 am).  Take a double look at what you have in your bag. Are you missing something? Do you need something else? Band aids? Toiletries? Of course you can always pick up those things along the way, but if you are going somewhere out of the country (or even to international waters on a cruise ship), the item you desire may not be available; and if it is, it may be 4xs the cost.

Need transportation? Sometimes it may not matter what the reviews say. If you are needing a ride, and the ride isn't there....well, I don't need to explain the rest.  Know your options!  Are you in a good area with other resources available? Are the drivers qualified to drive? Are the vehicles in good shape and road (and passenger) worthy? What if A falls through? Will B be available? When it's all said and done, go back and provide your review on the transportation provided.  It'll help a fellow traveler!

Have a planner. No, really, a planner. And, by planner, I mean a person with the great ability to organize, highlight, protect, print, document, reserve, call...Plan.  My family has always been a site seeing bunch, but when having folks from multiple locations, it's way easier to have one SPOC. (Special Point of Contact). Why not find someone who loves taking charge and organizing? While you're at it, create a special travel packet for each person.  While I love organizing, there are times when life is simply too busy. There is work, school, cleaning, laundry. Instead of me and my mom having conversations that basically involved, "You call." "No, you call." "No. You!" We'll go a different route the next time. (My mom did a great job!)

Buy a T-shirt. Make a T-shirt. Sure, it's easy to pick up a t-shirt. I have many a sweat-shirt with the name of the city, state, country proudly displayed across the front. It shouts (reads?), "Look at me! I've been to this location!"  While that may be fun, making your own t-shirt, more fun. You can pick your own colors, and proudly display all the fun conversations you had and no one will be the wiser. (Gaslamps anyone?)

Take pictures.  Just know, turnabout is fair play. Take a pic, post a pic, don't be surprised when one of you miraculously appears at a party (or on Facebook)!

Hasta La Vista. Goodbyes. Never been a fan. They sound complete, and final, as though a "hello" would never again be a possibility.  My long line of "ciaos"  started Saturday as we parted way to some great, interesting people at sea. This afternoon I left me Mum, Brother, Papaw and Daddy-o at an airport in Houston. My Ma, grabbed my shoulders and said with all assurance, "It's all gonna be alright. No fretting." Driving away, however, never feels alright. And no one should ever have to do the leaving, or be the left behind. 

Ellen, Melissa and I were escorted across town by our driver to the other airport. We ate at Chilis at the airport, and once again I was forced to part ways. Melissa walked away, down the hallway to her terminal, waving her hand, and yelling. "Don't let her cry Ellen! No tears!! Hasta La Vista! No crying!"

Lastly, Dance. After all, you are on vacation, and what's vacation without a little party?

Catch ya'll on the flip side.

Traveler out,

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