I recently visited New Orleans for only 48 hrs and I remembered how much I liked to travel. I've been married to my routines, the job, the housework, I had forgotten how much fun a simple getaway can be! New Orleans is like candy for the senses--so laid back and casual--much like Houston in that regard. I did stroll down Bourbon Street and a sudden sense of happiness came over me as I donned a feather boa and took pictures.. And I found family friendly places and entertainment in New Orleans.
Which tells you that YES! You can have a good time and stay sober in The Big Easy. For the first 18 years of my life I never went anywhere except Disneyland, MajicMountain, Fresno and a brief trip to San Francisco in grade school. Mostly just schooltrips with the band. But if it weren't for my music I wouldn't have been able to be in band or even travel locally. Once I was a legal adult I jumped at every chance to travel. Entered the military for education and got to Germany by way of New Jersey, San Antonio, and Louisianna. I'd love to show my kids the world.
Example, 8 hour car trip to Oklahoma with ex, the dog, two young children to see his relatives in a small town with nothing to do and bad company. I took those same kids, slightly older on a car trip between Baltimore to Washington DC and then Pittsburg to see family and it was much better. We saw the Lincoln and Washington memorial--the black wall of the Vietnam memorial, we swam in the hotel pool to beat the heat. We walked Antietem battlefield--it was an unforgetable time with my family--the kids actually got to see real mountains for the first time and meet their grandma. My daughter got spoiled when Oma took her clothes shopping in Pittsburg. We visited my fathers mosoleum and lit a candle it was well worth doing.
Part of the allure of travel is for me, the idea of leaving it all behind--not lugging the kitchen sink with you. If I ever go to Vegas again I think i'll just take a carry-on. Since you can't take more than an ounce of any make-up it makes things simpler. Dressy all purpose sandals with low or no heel do me just fine day or evening. Of course if its a convention for work-I'll have to pack 2 non-casual outfits and room for books/laptop. In that case one checked bag should be all I'd need. The last summer trip I took with my 2 kids we fit most everything into one suitcase and a carry-on with toiletries for each of us. But hey, if you get lucky in Vegas you can always fill that suitcase for the return trip.
I did most of my early traveling on somebody else's budget. Either the school trips or assignments for the military. I find that when I'm paying for everything I travel the most affordable safest way I can because there are often unexpected expendatures. For instance, the time I got pulled over driving over the speed limit on a trip between Louisianna and New Jersey, I don't remember which state I was in, but I think it was just before I got to Virginia. I was on travel orders to West Germany and due to ship my car out of Bayonne after I visit my dad in Pittsburg. It was late, I was tired, I was anxious to get to the nearest motel 6 so I could sleep and get back on the road in the morning. So this state trooper looks at my license and insurance and it is brought to my attention that I was driving with an expired California license a car with Louisianna plates and there was no home street address for the insurance--only the abreviations for a military company name. So I pull the paper out of my wallet that my NCO had given me when I asked for time off to renew my drivers license--that cited some federal code that exempted active duty military from license renewal. Trooper said he'd heard of that but he believed it only applied if you were actually in the military--outside the US. I pull out my orders for assignment to European Command, my ID to prove I was actually on active duty--just on travel leave and showed him that my orders address did match the mailing address which matched the address on my proof of insurance. As he continues to write the ticket he wants some physical address or location where I will be as I'm trying to tell him I don't really know and i won't be free to fly back from Europe to go to traffic court in whatever state that was. So I'm real respectful and grateful that I didn't get taken to jail over the license thing but I'm nervous because he's telling me that if i ever come into that state again I'll have an outstanding warrant and be subject to arrest on sight. So I ask him if I can just pay the ticket, he clears it with his boss over the radio-but he has to have cash because my check is an out of town and out of state check (Louisianna). Anyway, it took all my remaining cash except for like twenty-five dollars. That much to get me to Pittsburg in Febuary 1986.
After my trip to New Orleans and as I looked at all the stuff that was being done to rebuild it made me realize how much could be done with my own modest little house to make it more a home. I realized that for those of us blessed with steady employment now is the time to be generous to our neighbors who need work. If you're working steadily and making the same amount as prices fall on some things and you economize on others, open your wallet to improve your life and the lives of those around you. Life is too short not to live it well. Home is where you enjoy the people you love and everyone should be able to take that with them as they explore the world.
I once had an online friend who tried to tell me I couldn't have been outside the US because I didn't have a passport. Not considering that back in the early fall of 1984 I took a bustrip from San Antonio to Laredo and walked accross the bridge with my fellow AIT students and at that time all I needed was a US driver's license, I had indeed been to Europe without a passport. Well only to the country I had orders to be in. As I explained to my friend, not only was I able to be there it was my job to be there, and I wouldn't have been allowed to have a civillian passport anyway because I was active duty military and you needed permission and travel visa to vacation outside your country of assignment while overseas. So, time has certainly gone by and I need to get a passport because the world is a different place post 9-11. But if I am physically able I intend to enjoy the freedoms that have been hard won.
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