There are always excuses on why not to travel that come up when planning an extended trip. But “Travel while we can” always wins out.
By Tom P Blake – Finding Love after 50
It seems that whenever I plan an extended trip, there are excuses that arise that make me question whether I should go or cancel. This year was no exception. (This year was 2008).
My partner Greta and I have been a couple for ten years. We feel blessed for those glorious years together and are celebrating our commitment to each other with a 23-day trip to Italy in May.
As many couples do when they first meet, we talked about countries we'd love to see and compiled a list of hoped-for future destinations. Italy ranked near the top. Planning to go there began over a year ago.
Then the excuses started to surface.
Twenty-three days is a long time to be away. I think, how in the world will my deli survive without me for that long? And then I think, what if something happens to someone dear to me while I'm so far away?
But that length of time was a choice we had to make. Virtually on the same day, a timeshare in Italy we had requested was confirmed for one week and friends who are renting a villa in Tuscany with eight other couples invited us to be couple number 10, starting a week after our timeshare week was up.
That left a week in between. Greta said, "No problem. We'll stay in Italy for three weeks."
And then she added, "The deli has done just fine without you during our previous trips. Stop worrying."
Another excuse arose. Friends said, "You're going to get butchered by the cost of the euro."
Five years ago, when we were in London and Paris, the cost of a euro was 93 cents.
Last year, while we were in southern Europe, the cost was $1.23.
We just purchased euros for more than $1.70, making the cost of going to Europe nearly double what it was five years ago. But our feeling is we should go even though it will be expensive. By next year, who knows what a euro may cost?
And then there is the international-unrest excuse.
I think about a trip four years ago that we nearly cancelled. Greta and I had planned a trip to Spain traveling by train throughout the country. Three weeks before we left, a terrorist group bombed Madrid's Atocha Train station, the very station from which we were scheduled to depart. The news shook us up, 191 people died and 1,755 were injured.
I wrote a column titled, "Should we go or should we stay home?" and put the question to newspaper readers. Overwhelmingly, they responded with "go," saying that if we didn't, we were letting the terrorists win. We went but rented a car instead of taking trains.
Our main reason for taking this trip trumps all of the excuses: do so while we're healthy enough to travel. Last Thursday, John and Cory, friends of mine, had lunch in my Dana Point deli. John, 54, has been battling prostate cancer for a year. Fortunately he's on the mend. John looked me straight in the eye and said, "You take that trip. Let me tell you, life can change in an instant-go while you can."
And then he winked and added, "Besides, Cory and I love reading about your travels and I know you'll write about it."
And there are other friends we know and love who have serious health issues-five I can name right off the top-who insist that we go while we can. Even my mom, at 97, encouraged us, although I know she'll worry the whole time we're gone.
Our dream to explore a country by train will finally be realized. We purchased Eurail passes and will travel between Italian cities riding the rails.
Whether single or as a couple, travel broadens one's horizons in so many ways and making new friends is a big part of that.
As we adults move into our 60s, 70s and 80s, we need to appreciate what we have, stop making excuses, and live life to the fullest, taking advantage of opportunities that are available now.
Perspective in 2016: We had a great time on our Italy trip. So fun, in fact, I wrote an E- book titled, “Italy. 23 Days By Train.”
Here is the link to that book: