Personally, I’d rather stay in my lair. I’m one of those people who like being home. I like being comfortable, and having my stuff around me. Travel is inconvenient, in many ways.
But it’s also a rare chance to expand your horizons, learn how other people live, and gain experience that you can’t read about. When you stand in a place you’ve only seen in pictures before, you smell the air, you grasp the vista’s size and scope. You learn things that people don’t include in the Wikipedia article. You talk to the people, and hear their opinions about things. (Our hostess in Cardiff was from China, and had strong opinions about immigration. Our host in Oxford told us to visit Blenheim, noting that someone who’d grown up in a place like that -would- believe they could defeat the Nazis.)
That’s why I do it.
But travel gets harder with every year. Not only because of airline cutbacks, but also because I’m just getting older. The meat suit needs more tender care. It’s creaky and whiny.
We learn to compensate. I’ve finally figured out how to keep my feet from swelling on a plane (turns out the culprit is stretching out my legs.) I switched to a lighter piece of luggage this time, only to learn that not having a rolling bag along made things tougher. I brought two pair of shoes this time–of different design, which prevented the blisters I had last time. I tried to think of the the challenges in terms of how a character might endure them (because that’s what writers do.)
We rented a room in another person’s house on this trip–not someone we knew–a house that’s 160 years old. I was reminded how uneven the floors of old houses are. How they creaked at night. We discussed how the maintainance on a house like that is never-ending. How thick the old stone walls were.
We stayed on a boat (a Dutch barge) for part of the trip. It wasn’t like a boat at sea, but still a firm reminder of how slippery the deck gets. Water is a precious commodity on a boat. Ironic, huh? The boat swayed gently at night. Creaking. Because it was moored next to a grassy bank, there were spiders. Nothing like walking toward the head at night and into a spider web. I think that another boat bumped into us late one night, shoving us against the bank. A little scary.
We both got sick while there, which added to the constant rain in Oxford made us a little miserable. I need to remember what that’s like. I need to recall what it was like to take a real shower once we got to a hotel, and get warm and dry…
So I’ll try to remember everything, writing down the details. Because that’s what writers do…