Thursday, April 30, 2009


Nobody really asks me what I want to make sure I do before going totally blind, but they should, because I have an answer.  I want to travel.  

Travel.  I'm intentionally leaving that as a broad term.  If I said, "I want to go back to Scotland and show my kids where I was married," then once I accomplished that, people would think it was okay if I went totally blind.  It's not okay, and so I also include, "I want to go to Germany, and see where my dad's family is from, and maybe get some genealogy work done."  That way, I'm not really "okay" to go blind until I complete my entire family history.  Maybe multiple trips.  Possibly surrounding countries.  We're talking back to the days of my great great great great greate grete gret grandparents of anglo-saxon times, all the way back to Jesus times.  I'm pretty sure Jesus has nothing to do with my ancestry line, but at the very least, I intend to find out.  At that point, I think it would be unfair to fill out an entire family tree of my German ancestors, only to leave grande grande grande abuelos' story untold, so travel to Mexico is on that list somewhere as well.  

I'm also interested in Asia.  I knew a girl in high school who loved Japan, and, at the time, that was sort of her thing, like The Beatles and bad hair were my thing.  Now that I'm older, and people have let go of having Things, I feel it's up for grabs, and so I've revisited the idea of going somewhere like Hong Kong or Tokyo.  I always liked the Karate Kid part 2, so maybe I'll shoot for Okinawa.  If that doesn't work out, I'll just go to Hawaii and call it close enough.  

Eric really wants to go to Russia.  I'm okay with this idea, as long as we go with someone who knows the language and customs.  If we stick to the touristy spots, and I bring enough crackers and peanut butter to last me the week (because Russian food looks very, very inedible), I think we'll do just fine.  

I joke about not wanting to eat local food or get shot at for turning down the wrong alleyway, but the truth is, I'm pretty open to just about anywhere in this world.  A guy I know had a mom who went to Africa, and when I saw some of the pictures of her trip I lost a lot of the fear I had about going somewhere where people were in need.  I found a part of myself that wanted to make the world a better place, a smaller place, by getting out of my comfort zone and becoming a world citizen.  I would jump at the opportunity to go rock babies in an orphanage in Latin America, or teach children in India.  It doesn't sound anything like me, does it?  And that's maybe the best reason of all to do it.  

Of course, there are a few things I'd have to get over if I'm going to make travel my thing.  The first is kind of obvious, and that's getting over being poor.  I think hypnosis may help.  The second would be getting over my fear of leaving my kids behind.  We once had the chance to go to Paris to stay with Eric's uncle and his family.  It was the perfect opportunity to see the city, and the surrounding countryside.  We didn't go, because I didn't want to leave Lennon out of the trip, and Eric thought it was a horrible idea to take her with us.  I still think I'm right about the fact that she would have been okay to come, but I've come to realize that my stubbornness left me Paris-less.  Frankly, I'm an idiot for trying to fight that fight, but the point is totally moot now, as his uncle lives in Utah now, and I think bringing your kids with you when you go to Utah is like The Law or something.  At any rate, the next time someone tells me I could go somewhere, I'm going, kids or no kids.  They can make the decision to go on that trip later, when their own uncles are offering hotel-free stays.  

The third thing I'd need to get over is public bathrooms.  Granted, I'm told that in India, this isn't an issue, as I will probably just be wearing Depends on the entire trip.  I am totally okay with that.  I would, however, like to know ahead of time whether or not the Depends are necessary, as I don't like to carry a lot of luggage, and diapers take up more room than you might expect.  Just a little forewarning is all I'm asking for.  

I think I could travel as a full-on-blind person.  I'm not really worried about that, I guess.  I mostly want to get my Scenic Travel done first, because I'm guessing the Alps or the Scottish Highlands lose a little bit of their majesty if you're looking at them through a straw.  Although I did go to the Grand Canyon at night once, and I was just as terrified of falling in as I would have been if it were full daylight, so maybe the essence of the experience isn't all that different when you have limited sight.   If I go back to England and I can't see Buckingham Palace or The Tower of London, it wouldn't be that big a deal, anyway.  I've seen The Spice Girls Movie three times.  

Somebody I know who travels a lot told me the best way to get started is to treat your own city as a tourist destination.  Get used to using public transportation, and treat your surroundings like it might be the last time you "get back."  I get this, but I don't like doing it.  I've seen enough cacti and Arizona sunsets of purple and gold to fill my sightless years.  I can recall what a desert in April looks like without a moment's hesitation.  However, it takes me a little time to remember what Beale Street looks like in the rain, or the color of the sand at La Jolla Beach.  
The fact is, I can do it though.  I can recall those memories of different places in this world, because I've been there.  I Was There.  And when I get bored here at home, with my limited view of the back of an elementary school and the rows of identical houses, I can go back there for a moment, reliving the excitement of uncharted territory, and of not knowing what to expect (just what does a life-size statue of B.B. King look like?  Oh.  It looks like that.  Cool.), while anticipating the adventures to come with the confidence I gained by going somewhere I didn't think I'd ever go, or seeing something I didn't think I'd ever see.  

Travel.  It's what I want to do.    


mrsmouthy said...

I really hope you find a way to get to some of these places. Heck, to all of them!

Tina Swaney said...

I can see Russia from my house.