Travelling as we get older is not the same as when we are younger. At least this is my experience. I do not miss the long-haul flights to Europe. Nor finding that my connecting flight is delayed five hours, the announcement made only 15 minutes before departure. Sitting next to someone who needs more space than the seat allows is disconcerting. Worse still seats near the toilets! There is a downside and an upside to travelling away from home. As I get older I am more aware of the downsides!
In my early 20s I travelled with a group by coach to Lightning Ridge, Western Queensland. Spending the night in a sleeping bag in a woolshed was fun. But repeating the experience is the furthermost though in my mind, now I am older. I could cope with an air-conditioned caravan or motorhome. That is, after my light plane trip to get there!
I have experienced a few disastrous holiday get-a-ways. Now I find it very tiresome trying to find a place that will meet mine and my One & Only (O&O) humble expectations. All we ask for is a comfortable and clean bed. An air-conditioner that is not noisy is a prerequisite. Better still cooler weather and a wood fire. Fresh food and good service at a price that reflects what is on offer. Is that too much to ask for?
I have written about my travel experiences on other occasions. Now these all come back to me when planning a Spring holiday. For years I have wanted to travel to Victoria for the Melbourne Cup. Shouldn’t every Australian be able to say, ‘I’ve been to the Melbourne Cup.’ I spend an inordinate amount of time researching all the packages, later put aside. My O&O and I talk about the queues, the crowds and decide it is more comfortable to watch the Melbourne Cup in our family room at home. If I did travel to the Melbourne Cup I would want to be in the Birdcage. Unfortunately, the early birds took all the packages for the Birdcage Private Marquee this year. However, there are tickets left for ‘The Perch’ in the Birdcage. The cost is $2,100 each for the day! This includes admission to the racecourse and entry to ‘The Perch.’ Waiters will be mingling with grazing platters. There will be G.H. Mumm champagne, beer and wine on offer and a race book and souvenir pen. After I thought about it for a while I dismissed the idea.
Where could my O&O and I relax? Are there reclining lounges? I was looking at G.H. Mumm champagne the other day to stock up for our Christmas visitors. I can buy a case of it (6 bottles) for $299.70. Shopping for my gourmet food platter for our Melbourne Cup extravaganza at home will cost under $50.00. With champange the total cost is $100. My change out of $4,200 (for two at ‘The Perch’) is $4,100. We can relax in our recliners and watch the races and fashions close up on television. No noisy crowds or missing the waiter as he pirouetted away to a group of glamourous young women, all clamouring for another champagne.
What happened to my sense of adventure? Answer: I got older. What happened to my spendthrift ways? I was never a spendthrift, so no recovery required. What happened to my life as a social butterfly? I used to enjoy parties, people and platters. But now, I like selected company, party venues that I can control and a platter of delicious food I buy and create.
Our priorities do change when travelling as we get older. When I was younger I accepted options that I would not consider now. Yet, I still long for that timber holiday house on stilts at Palm Beach, Queensland. Holidaying there as a child I could walk out the back door to enjoy a sea of sand long before I reached the water. The smell of the sand and ocean was intoxicating. Every night I would drift off to sleep (after I checked for bugs at the bottom of the bed) with the waves crashing on the sand. There was fresh salad sandwiches and watermelon for lunch and bonfires on the beach at night. I recall holding hands with my three sisters (my youngest sister Debbie was born later) as we ran on the beach with our new holiday clothes, all made from the same fabric (the Sound of Music comes to mind)! Life was much simpler then and travelling to get to our destination full of anticipation and happiness, even in a car without air-conditioning.
What happened to me, when did my outlook on travel and holidays away from home change? This attitude unknowingly seeped into my life as the decades past and I got older. Yes, my priorities changed. My expectations have changed. The romance of travel has faded. These days I enjoy living the good life at home. It is the simple and dependable pleasures I choose. However, I am prone to changing my mind and who knows there could be more travel on the horizon, even now I am older.