I’ll be honest. My recent wishful thinking about vacation? My perusing online?
Not only was I exploring possibilities within a few hours drive, but my dreaming was extending beyond such banal boundaries. I’ve been pondering a trip to Europe – seven or eight days and nights – and not just to Paris.
Now, now. Paris would be included…
In fact, I’ve been privy to a conversation that involves three or four cities criss-crossing two countries. That means a whole other set of considerations for me, as in the potential of three or four beds in roughly a week.
So why is that a problem?
Organizing Everyday Life Around Chronic Conditions
Some of us deal with life’s little inconveniences – insomnia, allergies, chronic pain, phobias, and of course, a variety of medical conditions that require a bit of tending. I may not have allergies, illnesses or phobias – but I do suffer back pain, and sleep is often a dilemma.
Most of the time I manage just fine. But the sleeping? There’s no predicting when it will be smooth sailing, and likewise, when I’m only able to manage a measly four hours.
One night like that? Two? I can deal – and have – for as long as I can remember. But a week or more, and that spells trouble.
The thought of changing sleep environments three or four times in eight days is daunting. But as one who travelled frequently for years, I have learned to get creative.
When I’m on home turf, I know the best ways to sit during the day not to mention the importance of standing up. Naturally, I know the most reasonable behaviors that will minimize my mini-dramas over catching an adequate share of forty winks.
Since I work in a home office, no one’s the wiser if I’m up every hour to stretch or occasionally typing while standing at the kitchen counter. Besides… don’t we all arrange our surroundings to optimize comfort and productivity? And if I can’t sleep at 4:00 am, then I work.
As for travel, I know from experience that when I venture abroad, I usually don’t settle into a rhythm until Day 3.
Consequently, when I’m planning a trip, I generally stick to one location. I tend to stay in the same hotels when I can, especially if I know the mattresses are firm and the rooms well sound-proofed. Careful eating and brisk walking will increase the odds of a good night’s sleep as well.
On a short trip, I just suck it up. (French Roast helps.) On a longer trip, I suck it up for the first few nights, knowing everything will improve in 72 hours. (Venti Skinny Latte, please… And keep them coming.) But this “dream vacation” in which I’d be accompanying a friend?
The Pleasure of Traveling Alone
Although I traveled overseas with my ex and kids once a year – their grandparents and cousins were all in Europe – we went straight to the in-laws’ place and there we perched. I felt comfortable and welcome, and generally slept decently while there.
Other than that, I’ve usually traveled alone. This includes both business and pleasure, and for me traveling solo was never disagreeable.
If anything, especially for vacations, I loved being on my own and able to set my own schedule. Those were days before injuries were an issue, but sleeping challenges were. Because I set my own itinerary (and typically stayed put for a week or two), I was able to sleep well after a few nights, explore the location, meet new people in the process, and have fun!
In the past few years I’ve gone out of town with my significant other. I found him to be an ideal travel companion – he’s easygoing; he’s adventurous; he’s resourceful – and I was surprised that I adjusted as quickly as I did.
That first time traveling together as a couple? Pass the Pepto. But in his case, I needn’t have worried.
If This is Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium
It’s an old movie and one I recall seeing years ago. Suzanne Pleshette is lovely, and those were the days of ample (and speedy) touring. So speedy in fact, that you couldn’t quite be sure where you were unless you checked the itinerary for the day.
Right. If this is Tuesday, it must be Belgium.
And that sort of travel just isn’t for me!
The aforementioned friend of the maybe-possibly-wait-and-see vacation has a variety of reasons for the trip, including research required in specific cities. And yes – make that “oui” – Paris is one of them, as mentioned.
And incidentally, he sleeps like a rock. Anywhere, anytime.
I’m already trying to figure it out – even though it’s still only wishful thinking. To sleep, all too often, is itself the dream.
But if I get the opportunity?
I’ll consume coffee with gusto to stay awake when I must, walk with a bounce in my step wherever we are, and soak it all in, with or without those zzzzs.
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