Sunday Soapbox: Traveling Fool

>> Sunday, December 20, 2009

*Steps on soapbox*

This is not the first time I've mentioned this, but I hate to travel. Every time I drive anywhere, go anywhere, take any trip for any reason, I come back miserable. I hate it all. Not because of the reasons I travel (business, visiting family I love), but because of the traveling itself.

My work rarely makes me travel, and, those trips I do take are often for things I, myself, wanted to pursue (like papers I present at International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety conferences). I've been sent all over the country, often to wonderful interesting places and, almost always, to meet wonderful, interesting people or do activities that are quite entertaining. These trips have taken we also to Njordvick and Amsterdam (Netherlands), Nice (France), and Rome (Italy). I don't pay for any of this travel or the nice hotels I stay at or the food I eat. I'm always allowed more money than I need (or use).

I hate going. I hate flying, parking, renting cars, hotels (and their beds), not having my own food, having the hassle of getting my computer to work effectively with whatever networking tools I can manage (which is so important, I routinely use "cheaper" hotels that off free wifi by choice), dealing with whatever cables I forgot to bring or that aren't working in my new environment and, of course, missing my family terribly. I don't want to socialize or hang out, sightsee or be entertained. I want to do whatever I'm there to do and get out. I get the latest plausible flight in to my destination and the earliest reasonable flight out, whether it's Chicago or Rome.

I hate hotel beds (sorry). I hate not knowing my way around (earlier this year, I drove around the less savory sections of LA in the middle of the night 11-2 am because I missed an exit and was trying to find my way back). I hate being at the mercy of the airplane industry or taxis or traffic in other locations so I have no control over getting delayed or canceled. I hate not being in control of my own destiny. I hate airports. I hate packing. Food always tastes worse when I'm traveling. I hate that I don't know the language for some places, though that's my fault, not theirs. I have yet to be treated rudely in a foreign language despite my own failings.

Visiting family, though I love the family I visit and truly cherish the time I'm visiting, somehow end up miserable, too. Not because of the time I spend with the people I love, but all those hours in between so I can.

But, though I hate leaving my family behind, I don't like traveling with them either. No one likes spending hours in a car. Me neither, of course, but I'm almost always the one driving, and I hate driving far more than I hate riding. I can't read or do anything entertaining unless someone is willing to talk to me. Since the two children directly behind me don't talk, they can't help me. My teenage daughter, who does talk, sits far far behind me, and only talks to complain about the trip, but is otherwise on her ipod and reading. Next to me is my husband, who sits to me and would prefer to sleep in the car.

Everyone sleeping, that's nice isn't it? Not really. I need something to entertain me. I never single task anything, except sleeping which is a bad idea while driving. It drives me bonkers and makes me miserable. However, if they are awake and aware, they are just as likely to be reinforcing the misery.

My son doesn't talk. Although he's toilet trained, he "can't" tell me when he has to go. He just moans or says "giggle" in a miserable voice. He uses the same method to tell me he wants food or a drink or his movie changed or his blankie or that he's decided today would be the right day for one of his rare but geiser-like bouts of carsickness.

My baby daughter also doesn't talk and, although she might coo or giggle watching her brother's movie. she might also fuss and fidget in her seat if she's hungry, thirsty, tired, cold, too hot, poopy, soaking wet (which can happen since she likes to have her drink) or has handfuls of snacks under her but because she's crumbled her food into sharp bits before dropping it there for maximum discomfort. So far, though, no carsickness, so that's something.

My eldest is much more prone to carsickness. She also sits far behind me and has constant complaints of where we're going, who we'll see there, what entertainment she'll have when she gets there, her current entertainment at the time, the friends she's not seeing to go with us, her temperature, the fact she isn't allowed to stretch out on the seat, has to wear a seatbelt, has to help with drinks for the other kids or retrieve what they toss over the side of their seats, has to wear shoes, blah blah blah.

My husband tries. He is also prone to carsickness, and gas, and headaches from light. He hates to travel. He wants me to come up with interesting topics to talk about it (while I'm driving) if we're going somewhere he wants to go. If he doesn't want to go (and he can't hide that sort of thing though he thinks he's very supportive), he is misery incarnate. And, when he's miserable, he will not cheer up until he's spread it around. When it comes to spreading misery, he could seriously go pro.

I love the people we see, love the time we spend with them. I still hate the beds. I hate how my children start to act as their routine is disrupted for hours/days. And I hate getting there and coming back. I hate that the misery of the traveling makes me dread trips even though I love the people I see and hate that I don't see them more often.

A teleporter system can't get here too soon. Right now, the only thing good I can say about travel is that I'm not planning any more travel for the foreseeable future.

*Steps off soapbox*


  • Jeff King

    I don't mind car journeys if it is under 10 hrs, any more than that I’ll do everything in my power not to go.

    I agree with almost everything you've stated...

    I couldn't agree more, come on teleporter!

  • Relax Max

    And I thought I hated to drive! I am only an amateur driving-hater compared to you! I used to love it. It used to be an exciting adventure. Now it is an ENDLESS dotted line coming at me FOREVER! So I pretty much fly wherever I have to go. I would rather put up with airport "security" and long-term parking fees than driving for more than a couple hundred miles anymore. Sadly, I live in the West, where there are 76 gazillion miles of freeway with no towns and only one airport in 15 states. Ok, I exaggerate. There are considerably more airports than one. But even disregarding the 75 mph speed limit out here, the miles still creep by, and anything over 85 mph your gas mileage goes straight to hell. And you still can't keep up with the truckers.

    And I don't even have the peripheral added attractions you cite. :)

    I guess I stole your soapbox.

  • flit

    oh, you do make it sound like SO much fun!

  • The Mother

    I am such a creature of habit. I love going places and seeing new things, or old things, especially. But I prefer my own bed. Much prefer.

    I'd love to tell you that my kids had finally created the long promised teleporter, but, alas,
    I, like you, have to deal with 21st century transportation technology.

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