Three days home. Travel brain is nearly gone and home-brain is working again. Mostly.
We have been away traveling for nearly six weeks. I was going to give you a heads up that I might not be writing and then, with no warning, I developed a nasty head cold a week out from departure. It did not go away before flying. This is not a good thing. If you have ever had to fly when your sinuses are in turmoil, you will know what I mean. In fact the cough and sinus stuff did not leave until three weeks into the trip. So, I was not feeling like writing much of anything and hope you understand.
Travel is a good thing. It is. But it is not among the easier undertakings one might pursue. When I say travel, I’m not talking about a vacation to the beach where you bask all day, between margaritas and naps. Our version of travel, while perhaps not arduous, does deplete one’s energy. We walk a lot, see a lot, process a lot of information. Therein lies the second physical challenge for this trip. Walking. I have had a sore foot for months. It gets better and then worse, then even worse still, which it did on the trip. ‘Plantar Fasciitis’ is a common problem for which there is not much known about either cause or cure. Some things work and some don’t. Sometimes it leaves and sometimes it doesn’t. I know because I had it 15 or so years ago and that is exactly what I experienced. The exercises the podiatrist gave me did not work, in fact made it worse. Stopping them, adding stretches of my own saw it go away in a couple of months. This time I’ve had it much longer, have tried both the previous methods of stretching, as well as nothing, had a couple of days of complete absence of symptoms but essentially nothing has fixed it. So I walked. In pain. For six weeks.
I dropped into bed every night of the trip, exhausted mentally and physically, but did actually manage to take in the experiences and enjoy it for the most part. Just not the pain.
And while we are at it, there are a few other things I will enjoy not dealing with for a while.
- having to forage for every meal based on food intolerances. This is not easy and I spent a good deal of the time being hungry. Yes, I lost weight.
- having a different shower to figure out with each and every change of accommodation…It is a fact, every hotel in the world has a different shower mechanism from every other hotel. Am sure there was a primordial agreement in the ethers that caused this to happen.
- soooo much processed food…if it says on the packet it is healthy for you, it isn’t. Generally, food that is good for you doesn’t come in packets. And while I’m thinking of it, not everything must be consumed on a waffle or wrapped in bread, piled on pasta or rice or have onion or garlic flavouring added.
- searching for a place to wash our clothes—I nearly kissed my washing machine when we returned home. What do other travellers do to clean their clothes? Hand washing is just not possible, most hotels and B&B’s don’t even allow it, and frankly, hand washing is not my idea of travel fun.
- crowds—I can hear the neighbour’s little dog yapping this morning, and even that is music to my ears compared to crowded, noisy places.
- the smell of cigarette smoke in front of every building on every street in every country.
- filthy toilets–having to lay toilet paper on the seat before I can sit down, because there are never paper seat covers in the toilets where they are needed, only the cleanest ones have them! Humans are filthy creatures at times.
- bad coffee—there are a lot of people who don’t realise you can have the best coffee machine but if the beans are bad, it won’t make good coffee. Likewise, stewing coffee or storing it in an urn is just ruining any chance that coffee has of being good.
- loud mouth people in airports, especially on their cell/mobile phones (don’t you know everyone around can hear you? and does not care about your employee problems??)
- crappy hairdryers–(my husband hypothesised, there must have been someone traveling just ahead of us putting the same bad hairdryer in each different hotel, or there had been an excellent sales pitch to sell the same inferior device to four different hotel chains!) I have a new shorn hair style and vow not to need a hairdryer for future travels.
- bad lighting in bathrooms—worst lighting prize went to two, otherwise nice, B&B’s, best lighting prize goes to the Sheraton at the Falls in Niagara Falls, with a magnification makeup/shaving mirror with it’s own lighting as well as a surround light for the large mirror. Bless them.
- filthy, smelly taxis—our daughter has promised to explain to us how to use UBER. Nuff said.
- and while I’m at it, taxi drivers who use their phones while driving (not to mention bus drivers who talk on their phone WHILE filling out paperwork, WHILE driving—please leave multitasking to people who are not driving, or walking down the street)
- High fructose corn syrup—my sworn enemy.
The foot is strapped and receiving regular ice packs. The mountain of laundry is done, repairs to the garden are nearly done. And there are murmurs…of future adventure…
What keeps me traveling? I’m glad you asked. The mechanics of it are tiring, frustrating and downright unpleasant at times. However…when things take my breath away, or a sudden connection of a piece of knowledge turns on a light inside me, or something unexpected brings me to tears, it feels all worthwhile. When I see Wells Cathedral and a lump sticks in my throat, when I am gobsmacked by the incredible Guggenheim at Bilbao, when a Spanish woman spins her grandson in dance to a Basque folk song, when the most powerful show of water I’ve ever seen tumbles and mesmerises so that I can hardly look away, or when I stop in an ancient cemetery and realise that the man in that grave signed the Declaration of Independence…that is when I know I’m not done yet.
It hurts so good…give me more.
Welcome home, my friend! “Murmurings”of travel again, that sounds a little daunting having that foot on ice, and just now getting your tummy back in order… but oh, the gypsy within! She dares to whirl and dance and chance it all!
I’ve missed you and your writing! I’ll wait patiently to hear about this latest traveling adventure, and all of the mysteries of life that it satisfied, for now. XOXO
LikeLiked by 1 person
What a fantastic welcome back, thank you Lori. It is wonderful to go but equally good to be home again. I’m still thinking of giving my washing machine a big kiss!! xoxo
LikeLiked by 1 person
Kim Smith said:
Ardys, your list of travel complaints matches mine almost exactly. I do love seeing new places in the world, but I dread the airport crowds and unpleasant hotel experiences.
Its admirable that you still managed to enjoy this trip, especially with plantar fasciitis. I know how painful that is!
Somehow it was therapeutic for me to compile that list of travel woes. I guess it helped justify my extreme tiredness most of the trip! Yes, unfortunately, plantar fasciitis is known to quite a few people. Have had to put away the cute shoes (I don’t even own high heels) for a while and stick to the sport shoes. Thank you for reading and commenting Kim.
Kathy Liber said:
Glad to go. Glad to come home. The two hallmarks of a great trip.
Ironically, I was standing in the same spot in the Granary Burying Ground the last week of September!! Wouldn’t it be something if we passed each other in Boston?
Have you tried shoe inserts for the plantar fascitis? I found an inexpensive pair at the drug store and the pain is gone! Also, Biofreeze provides good topical relief.
I enjoy your posts and reading about your travel adventures.
What a surprise to hear from you Kathy! I can’t believe you were in Boston at nearly the same time as us! We were a week earlier than you, but that is eerily close! I have tried shoe inserts but the podiatrist tells me they were not sturdy enough…I have had fallen arches since I was eight years old. I had not heard of Biofreeze. Not sure if I can buy it here but will have a look if the pain persists. The strapping and icing do seem to be helping a bit after only two days, so that is good. And I will be buying a pair of inserts this week after the strapping comes off and the podiatrist determines which ones I need. Thank you for reading and commenting Kathy. xo
Welcome home, back to a life that you have control over! You are so right about showers…..may be the plus side is that our brains are kept young working out how to operate them!
And you are right that there is so much to see in this beautiful world of ours. And it the things that you just happen upon, like your dancing Grandmother, that often brings unexpected joy.
LikeLiked by 1 person
You have hit upon a good insight–being in an environment where one has more control…or at least feels like it!! Traveling is really an act of faith in many ways. So much can go wrong! Thanks Anne.
Oh Lord, welcome home, Ardys ! You do know I was laughing thru’ most of your ‘tale’ ?! OK: high fructose corn syrup and processed food go right to the top of my list together with coffee which simply ‘ain’t’ in much of the world. Filthy toilets and bathrooms away than home don’t much bother as I began most of my travels in SW Asia a long, long time ago . . .I have gained so much more than I have lost . . , You tell what thrills you: well, you just told me of a Guggenheim in Bilboa I did not know existed: that thrilled me . . . .be well . . .
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’m so glad you laughed at this post, I was hoping someone would!! You are so right about hfcs and processed food being huge annoyances. When coffee is bad, I order a tea bag but I knew I’d hit a new low when at a hotel in the US and ordered hot tea and asked for English Breakfast and they had no idea what I was talking about. They had FIVE different flavoured teas, none of which was a plain black or English Breakfast tea. I asked if they had it and the young woman returned from the kitchen with a box of tea bags and said that was all they had. I finally found one labeled English Teatime that was a plain black tea. I don’t understand why everything has to be flavoured like something else. The Guggenheim in Bilbao was spectacular to behold. The art inside was special too but really that view I photographed the first day we saw it was the one that got me. We are fans of Frank Gehry architecture and have seen a few of his designs, this being one. Thank you for reading and commenting Eha, I very much appreciate it.
There’s no place like home, and nothing like travel -even a day out, for me- to make us appreciate it. I guess it also means we live well and in the right place & style for our preferences. Your list conjures so many quirky mental images, none more than someone popping crappy hairdryers into bathrooms just ahead of you. I think what tops my list is crap food. There are enough places that do food well and don’t charge the earth, to shame the guilty. Because of this I am a dedicated TripAdvisor reviewer so that the good and the bad get what they deserve.
I feel for you… enduring Plantar Fasciitis at any time is horrible but while travelling… you are a marvel. When the G.O. had it I bought him the L’Occitane Foot Cream with arnica and lavender from Adore Beauty, and what also was a huge help was our go-to Arnica & Aspirin Cream made by the local Nambucca Heads compounding chemist at the Guardian Pharmacy (they sell it online but also have a new jar I can send to you if you wish).
LikeLiked by 1 person
I couldn’t agree more. Being away really makes one appreciate the lifestyle and home preferences. I’m so glad you are a dedicated TripAdvisor reviewer. I’ve been led astray a few times by TripAdvisor so always read quite a few reviews before making an evaluation based on that. Funny you should mention the foot cream with arnica…the podiatrist had a muscle cream with arnica and other natural ingredients that he uses so I bought a small tube to use once the strapping comes off the foot. That Arnica and Aspirin cream sounds good too, will let you know if I need some! It is so lovely that people have given me their tips for dealing with this, so thank you very much! x