As I was starting to write this morning, my daughter walked by and showed me a Snapchat video of good family friends on a whirlwind trip to New York where they attended a Yankees game. “I love watching what he posts whenever he travels because it’s so interesting,” my daughter said of their eldest son.
I don’t know, because for me, traveling is this thing unrelated to others. I felt a momentary urge. Admittedly, this is from a Smith. While I’m not planning on visiting Disneyworld, especially now, it would be pretty nice to put at least one foot (maybe even just a big toe) in Florida before I die.
While I’m not averse to travel, my multiple seven-day-a-week jobs/schedules, the custody agreement I had with the father of my kids, the single-earner economy, and the other weird mix of personal, family and civic responsibilities that constitute my “lifestyle” (if you could call it that) have always conspired against this.
If for some unforeseen reason I miss work for more than a day or two, there’s always a ton of household arrears to settle. It’s to the point now that when I’m away from home, I find it hard to focus on the fun because my thoughts always turn to what hasn’t been done.
Other times when I was more stuck at home and putting money aside hoping to plan a trip somewhere exotic, like northern Indiana, a big appliance breaks down or an emergency arises to wipe out both my free time and my vacation savings.
In my wildest fantasies, I leave my kids home alone without groceries in the middle of winter, having to deal with oven breakdowns, laundry emergencies, and toilet paper shortages while I’m in a tropical place, racking up holiday debt on a credit card I’ll later default, get away from it all.
Meanwhile, my current reality of paying bills in full probably seems boring to most others. Aside from infrequent day trips, my travel, including a surprise honeymoon trip planned for me, has always been involuntary – resulting from the circumstances of another person or entity necessitating my presence somewhere other than here. . Otherwise, I didn’t go anywhere.
Travel in general has been poor for me, starting in my youth, with miserable and obligatory “educational” family vacations to historic tourist destinations (which always went south due to my dad’s chain smoking in our non-air-conditioned cars and my mother’s inability to read even the most basic roadmap) and ending with the high school band’s trip to Nashville my senior year, where I had to perform on the stage of “The Grand Ole Opry”.
Say what? I played the Grand Ole Opry?! Well, I spiced that up a bit by omitting the details that although I was playing an instrument on that stage, it wasn’t piano or as part of an Opry production, but rather trombone in a harmony contest in which our school took part. Aside from the annual BUCS community bus trip I took to Cedar Point for many years, there was little travel excitement to tell in my youth, so why bother leaving home?
As an adult, work trips and training sent me back to Nashville, as well as other exciting destinations including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio. Besides business trips, I’ve been to Seattle and Whidbey Island to visit a brother-in-law’s family; in Georgia for a sister-in-law’s wedding and in Steamboat Springs, CO when another sister-in-law who was renting properties there was able to get free upscale accommodations for a mini family reunion. Thank goodness for the in-laws and the job or I would never leave Michigan.
So what am I going to say when a well-meaning person starts talking about their seasonal travel itinerary and asks me about my summer vacation travel plans? Hmm.
Will I fall back into my already rehearsed rhetoric about the need for a staycation, or will I venture into the uncharted territory of “I’m going somewhere this summer just for me” and then reveal my big travel plans in St. Louis, Missouri, where is a music store with the largest inventory of sheet music in the Midwest? Yes!
Have to start somewhere.
Kristy Smith’s comedy chronicles Different Drum are archived on her blog: diffdrum.wordpress.com.