I love visiting new places. I like seeing the sights and trying new things. It’s the type of adventure I can handle. Unfortunately, seeing new things means traveling, and I hate to travel. The process of getting from point A to point B is torturous for me and, unfortunately, for the poor people stuck with me, too. It’s not simply that I don’t like it…I’m a bad traveler, too.
I remember when I met my husband. Less than a month later we both took off on cross country adventures. I flew. Matt drove. Two weeks later we reconvened at my house for dinner and Matt gushed about the beauty and majesty of driving through the plains and mountains of our country. He couldn’t stop talking about the excitement of it all, and he couldn’t wait to take me with him.
Matt and I married in an eight month whirlwind. We knew very little about each other, but we decided to discover these things during marriage instead of having a long courtship. We learned quickly to trust each other when we told each other certain things about ourselves. No matter how well we know ourselves, however, there have been a few instances when we like to think we might know each other better. We’ve since learned our lessons (when Matt says he shouldn’t eat diary, trust him!).
Anyway, when I laughed at Matt’s suggested drive he assumed it was my loathing for driving bubbling to the surface. I tried to convince him that it was more than that. He discovered it for himself seven months later on our honeymoon.
To save a cool $500, I booked our flights out of Detroit. Sure, it’s a five hour drive one way, but the savings was worth it. We jumped into my car early one evening and headed for the city. Thirty minutes later, I was bored.
It was dark. I couldn’t enjoy the view. I couldn’t read or write. It was my honeymoon, so it didn’t feel right to be calling friends while my new hubby drove. It was too early to sleep. Matt and I had already been married for three days, during which we spent every minute together. There wasn’t a lot to talk about. My list of options shrunk rapidly. My brain shifted from entertainment to survival mode.
I don’t remember what happened next. For me, it was nothing more than a routine trapped-with-nothing-to-do defense mechanism. I know it involved lots of talking, probably some Disney songs, and possibly some dashboard dance move. Matt wasn’t prepared.
Two hours into the trip he pulled off the freeway. It was too early for a bathroom break, and we were meeting friends for dinner, so I asked why we were stopping. Matt looked at me and I saw the dream of a leisurely drive through Montana flitter out the window. We stopped in the Wal-Mart parking lot. We were going, he said, to the $5 movie bin, where I was to pick out some movies. When we returned to the car, he continued, I would watch those movies on his laptop until we got to Detroit. It wasn’t a suggestion or request.
I could have been angry that my new husband was ordering me around, but I wasn’t. It thrilled me! Finally, something to do! I picked out four movies (Matt wanted to make sure I had something for the plane AND the drive home) and we finished the trip. Since that experience, if we plan on being in a car for longer than two hours, Matt refuses to go without packing the laptop. He takes such good care of me.
I’m also learning to travel alone (with two sisters on the West coast I have become very familiar with Terminal G at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport). I never fly direct (I need to get up a move!). I also pack an activity bag, like any good mom. The bag can be heavy (I never travel without a small library, note pads, stationary, my manuscript, and sometimes the laptop), but I have good chiropractic coverage.
I’ll never describe myself as a “good traveler”, but I’m more confident and comfortable with it these days. So are the people who travel with me (they just don’t realize it). I’ve learned to travel prepared, and that has helped a lot. And now that I’m a master of the cross-country flight, I might try to to visit my brother and sister-in-law…in Germany.
Don’t worry…I’ve got lots of new DVDs.