Thursday, February 28, 2008


Here's how you know a frequent traveler from a once-a-year-holiday traveler.

The latter looks forward to their trip with nervous glee, pores over books about their destination, stocks up on gear, perhaps makes a list. Shares tips they've read. The latter prepares with interest and enthusiasm.

The former waits until the night before, then remembers they forgot to check the weather and shape of electrical outlets at their destination. Rummages through drawers in search of a passport. Wonders if it will matter that they didn't get any vaccines. Bristles at the inconveniences of getting to the airport, which in New York can be as long a trip as the actual flight. They might even complain to envious friends. "Ugh, I have to go to Europe tomorrow, what a pain in the @ss."*

The frequent traveler dreads the actual process of travel. Because the packing part is annoying, the actual travel itself dehumanizing and uncomfortable, and there are bound to be bumps along the way, but not the funny kind that make good stories. More like the kind where you have to wait in a lot of lines or sit very still for an interminable amount of time.

Think of how you feel about traveling the night before Thanksgiving. That's it. That's the simmering dread that I get before a trip.

Once I am on the plane, strangely, I forget completely about the dread, resign myself to holding still, and that's when I begin to get excited about my destination.

*File under "Things you can't complain about." Like looking good for your age or having too many parties to attend.


Marc Siry said...

There's a threshold - the truly frequent business traveler looks forward to the expedited security line for 'elite' travelers, the early pre-boarding, and the free beer and good food in the comfy seats up front (all thanks to hard earned frequent flier miles).

I guess this should also be filed under 'things you can't complain about,' although taking your shoes off is still annoying.

detroit dog said...

Last week I spent 9-1/2 hours on an Amtrak to Chicago; if I'd driven, it would have taken 4 hours. (Don't know that this has any relevance here, but I need to vent. Thanks.) The conductors came through and told us who to write to complain.

My "last minute" stuff is always that the house isn't clean enough (it never is anyway, it just bothers me more before I leave), will the dog survive life without me (yes), and should I bring my camera or buy a small one (I'm still lugging around the big one with all the lenses. ugh.). And, should I give away the food in the fridge 'cause I know my husband will eat out every night.

BTW - "Looking good for your age" tops the list for Best Backhanded Compliments.

Have fun!

Anonymous said...

When I have to take shoes off in the airport I feel naked. Secondly, I'm relieved I only have to go to drawing class tonight.
Just remembered running with 2 suitcases down 2 flights of steps to catch a train with less than a minute to go. M.

Linda said...

The airlines are starting to charge for a second bag of checked luggage. I have a better idea. Let you check it for free and charge you for carry-ons that don't fit under the seat. Also let folks without carry-ons board first. When we all stop stuffing so much in the overheads, board and deplaning will go much faster.

amazedlife said...

I totally hear you on this. I can't even manage to get excited about actual vacation travel anymore. Another transcontinental flight? Can someone wake me up when it's over? I'm heading to Ethiopia next week and I still don't know if I can get a visa at the airport... probably won't know until I get there, because I'm too lazy to find out :-) Hopefully I don't end up in jail...