Note: Sony Music are douchebags and I can’t find a version of this song that will play on my site. But dude! Click through! Totally worth it.
Ok, I haven’t been everywhere. But I’ve been a lotta places!
I’ve been to: Israel, Egypt, Italy, Turkey, Switzerland, Belgium (24 hours – that counts, right?), England, Ireland, and Holland. Oh! And Canada: Toronto, Nova Scotia (<3!), PE Island….
In America, I’ve been to (city, state, and/or environs): Chicago, New York, Syracuse, Boston, Washington DC, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis/St. Paul, all over southern Wisconsin, a few places in northern Indiana, all over southwestern Michigan, Memphis, Springfield (IL), Cincinnati, Orlando (well – Disney), Maine, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten a lot.
There are HUGE swathes of the world still to see, not least all of Africa south of Egypt, Iran, and the American Southwest. But, you know, I’ve been a place or two, seen a thing or three.
It’s cool. I like feeling comfortable on a plane, at ease with pulling out my passport. I don’t like the fact that when my family of four and I flew somewhere in November, we realized with a shock that, once we had factored in travel-to-and-from-the-airport time and (more to the point) security-check-time — we literally could have gotten where we were going almost as quickly by driving. (And the food would have been better and cheaper). So there may soon be more driving in my future.
But that’s fine, too, because all told, I like traveling. I spent a good 20 years doing it mostly on my own, back and forth and back and forth from Israel to America, with occasional stops in Europe or the US (or, that’s right, Canada. What’s wrong with us Americans?), the stopovers often including every mode of conveyance short of donkey cart: bus, train, boat, borrowed car, rental car, riding-with-someone-else-because-they-were-headed-that-way. Probably some walking too. Very rarely, a group would be involved, or a boyfriend, and then I picked up a husband, and eventually we had kids. Now I mostly travel in a pack of four, each dragging a carry-on (mine generally the heaviest, because where else will a lunch for four fit?).
This weekend, I’m traveling again, but here’s what I’m not doing in preparation – I’m not:
- Making lists for other people
- Packing clothes, toiletries and pharmaceuticals for other people
- Buying books, activities, and food for other people
- In any way concerning myself with the travel needs of other people
Why? Because I’m going by myself.
I love my kids, God knows I love my kids. I am, in fact, a trifle crazy about my kids — besotted and infatuated with my kids, actually. What’s not to love? They are outstanding human beings: Funny, smart, kind, and very good with the hugging (though the girl, through no fault of my genes, I can assure you of that, does not like to give or get kisses. I ask you!). They are also, it must be said, excellent travel companions, and always have been — and this is not a thing that can be said about all children, it must be said.
And my husband — with whom I am, quite frankly, also besotted and infatuated — always packs for himself. I am not his mother, and he knows to step lightly even when asking advice on what to bring. I am not — I repeat — his mother. And he, too, is a genuinely fabulous travel companion. We have a lot of fun together on the road, me and my wee gang.
Having this opportunity to NOT pack for others, NOT worry about what others will eat, NOT think about amusing others, NOT shop for anyone but MYSELF (I got shoes yesterday, y’all! Cute little black pumps that straddle that all important line of “workaday” and “cute and sassy” — whoot!) is kind of glorious, I must say.
Definitely the most surprising piece of becoming a parent was the utter relentlessness of it. You cannot decide (as one might with a spouse/partner) to not eat supper. You cannot decide to blow off the laundry for another week. And if you’re the one with the sudden, painful, gaping head wound? You still have to calm the other, shorter people down. Parenting is, in a word, relentless.
So getting a chance to buy cute shoes, make my own lunch plans, and pack a carry-on with my own reading material (I’m going to teach myself the glories of my brand-new Blackberry!) is a little heady.
I will miss my people, I am that sort, and I’m glad to say that I am also very excited to be going where I’m going — the J Street conference, where I’ll get to hob-nob with hopeless Israel/Palestine geeks like me, people who obsess like me and worry like me and talk in the same shorthand I have in my own head — but before I even get there, I’ll already be happy.
Because I won’t be juggling coffee and someone else’s pizza. And my shoes? Will be fabulous.
Crossposted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles.