Trip Tips for Coming Home

by Judith Fein

The worst part of travel isn’t the security checkpoints with prison-issue wands, puffs of air blowing in your face or gloved agents pawing through your belongings. It’s not the airline seats with their lumbar supports that spear your spine or the $2.25 you pay for a small bottle of filtered tap water at airport restaurants.  It’s not the jetlag—which can be so brutal that your left foot doesn’t know where your right foot is walking—or the suitcase that vanished with the travel clothes, gadgets and gear you have spent half a decade assembling.

The worst part of travel is actually coming home. One day you are in Peru, gaping at Machu Picchu or in Quebec City, learning about why the English and the French both coveted the area. Maybe you’ve been cycling in Italy, trekking in Nepal, cruising down the Nile in Egypt, or sauna hopping in Finland. The next day, you open the door to your digs and…chaos.

The answering machine is blinking, there are hundreds or thousands of emails, the snail mail spills over the edge of a huge tub and stares at you from the floor.  There are bills to be paid, deadlines to be met, appointments to be kept. Your hair needs new highlights, your car is due for servicing, there’s a leak in your office, you forgot to send your sister-in-law a birthday gift. The exotic fades as you slip into the quotidian and start trouble-shooting, catching up, returning calls, and squirming in the dentist’s chair.  Hooray! You are home.

I have not yet figured out how to make homecoming a celebration.  But I have a few tips if you are as overwhelmed as I am when you step over your own welcome mat.

1) Even if you are committed to NOT being wired when you travel, try to check your email at least once before the big return.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

The Theory of Flight

by Susan McKee

One advantage of travel writing is the opportunity to travel. Of course, that's one of the disadvantages as well. When you're traveling, you're not where you're going, and you've left where you've been. Transit time is a state of suspended animation.

Take getting to Malaysia, for example. It's on the other side of the earth from the American heartland. No matter whether you go east or west, it's still 23 hours of time in the air. I flew from Newark to Kuala Lumpur, so the plane stopped for refueling in Dubai.

An hour or so in that international airport terminal is just about enough time to ogle the jewelry and designer clothes for sale and send off a postcard. Then it's back on board, trying to endure the tedium – dropping off to sleep, waking and reading for a bit, then dozing off again.

Stuck in steerage, there's not much to do. Most long distance overseas flights these days have individual television screens – even in coach. But, the movie choices are inane, and how many times can you watch the same episodes of popular TV sitcoms? I find myself tuning into the map charting the plane's progress.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Learning to Navigate Airport Security

by Andrea Gross

My four-year-old neighbor, a cute kid with the nicely old-fashioned name of Billy, knocks on my door. "Wanna see what Mommy gave me?"

"Sure," I say. (His mother is looking across the yard to make sure her child has safely navigated the few feet of space between our front doors. Can't be too careful these days.)

Billy is carrying a huge box, nearly as big as he is. He hands it to me, I wave to his mother, and we go into my living room.

He unpacks the box. "It catches 'terrists,'" he tells me. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature airport security check point station. I kid you not.

It has seven parts: a baggage x-ray machine, a people metal-detector, three plastic people, a rolling carry-on suitcase that fits in the x-ray machine, and a chair for the person who watches the suitcase in the x-ray machine. The people consist of the following: a traveler, a TSA agent, and a policeman with a gun.

The possibilities for creative play are obviously endless. Traveler tackles policeman. TSA agent gets trapped in metal detector. Policeman shoots x-ray machine. Child has nightmares.... (All people are white and male, but that's a discussion for another time.)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...