Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Challenges of Travel

Anyone who has gone away even for a day or two knows the challenges of travel. These challenges are exacerbated by several things, especially factoring in children, followed closely by how far from home you are going and for how long. As a result, several of our sacred and trusted routines are disrupted and, dare I say, desecrated. These include the beauty and familiarity of our home bathroom (ah, how we miss the comfort and feel of our own toilet), our healthy diets (if we had them in the first place), getting enough sleep, and most notably, at least first thing in the morning, a good cup of coffee. I'd heard it said once by a friend that once you get away from either coast, coffee really seems to suffer, and I'm inclined to agree. Sort of.

Having said all that, it goes without saying that with greater challenge comes greater reward, and though I continually repeat my regular refrain of "Why the heck are we doing this?" while we are preparing for a trip, my heart filled with anxiety and my mind filled with dread, I would encourage everyone to take their kids on big trips, because it is an incredibly fulfilling experience and for both kids and adults, and everyone grows from the experience, especially children. Besides, it's a big planet, it behooves each and everyone of us to explore it and see how the other half lives. And what a fascinating and interesting planet it is.

But enough of my pontification.

I woke up super early this morning because we are in the midst of a time change and it is extremely difficult to get a good nights sleep when I'm next to N. He is so restless, constantly shifting and grabbing my arms or hair. Coupled with my anxiety of him falling off the bed, I slept in one hour shifts, at best.

The bright side (you always have to look for a bright side) is that I woke up early and got some writing done, as you are witnessing first hand if you are reading this. I'm thinking that writing this blog will be a challenge on this trip, especially if we camp, but I'll do the best I can. I'm hoping to somehow generate a travel article out of this trip and pitch it to a publication, but I've got to find my angle. Always searching for an angle, that seems to be the story of my life.

It's almost 7:00AM and still dark outside, which is in marked contrast to Vermont, where the sun seems to come up around 5:30 or 6:00. This could be my imagination.

Also, since it was dark outside, I was under the impression that we were off the beaten path and secluded from the urban nightmares of the big city, but no such luck. We are actually in plain view of the highway, and are being treated to the sound of traffic. In fact, we are directly adjacent to the highway. Another depressing roadside attraction, but I'm not complaining. The place is nice, in an uniform, Americana sort of way. You see a lot of hotels like this across the country, and my sense is that they are trying to offer the same generic, predictable experience that is familiar and comforting. I'm not knocking it, I like it myself, but we could be in New Jersey or Fresno and not know the difference.

Having said that, I can't wait to engorge myself on the all you can eat, get really fat breakfast buffet. I'm thinking lots of stick to your ribs food like bacon and sausage and eggs. Maybe a waffle or two, followed by some fruit if I can squeeze it in. I approach every meal with the POV that I want to eat healthy, but the minute I walk into a room and see all that hot and greasy food, my mind goes blank, and I want to stuff my face. I thus walk right past the raisin bran and fruit and head for the fried foods. I am in awe of the European travelers that we've encountered, and this is a gross generalization but a fairly accurate one, but they all seem to be very good at exercising moderation. We see it everywhere. Even in lieu of all this incredible food, they tend to eat these small, Euro-breakfasts of a little bread (a croissant if you're in Paris), maybe a little fruit or cheese, and coffee.

Meanwhile we are making pigs of ourselves with our plates piled to the ceiling. It's a little embarrassing, actually, but I can't resist. Food and more food. You can't beat it. We won't fall into any self-consciousness because I'm guessing at this hotel, eating will fall into the realm of recreation, and I'm looking forward to it. Good thing I brought my jump rope.

I'm thinking that we will fall into our usual traveling pattern of two meals a day. A huge breakfast, a light lunch snack, and then a healthy dinner, with healthy being a relative term. You do the best you can when you're on the road.

Today we'll get our rental car and thus begin our road trip. More later on the whole soap opera of getting our car. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Sophie for the pic.

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