Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Travel with a Small Dose of (Emotional?) Baggage

The husband will turn 65 on his next birthday, so our financial advisers had us complete a questionnaire about retirement needs, wants, plans, and such. Since he plans to work until he is 70, we're still talking "future," but we know all too well how plans can change unexpectedly.

One of the questions concerned "extras" that we'd like to have in retirement. We don't want a second home, a nicer car, or anything material. What we want is to be able to travel. We've enjoyed being able to do that now that the sons are out of college, and have no desire to stop, especially since we'll have more time and more flexible schedules then.

We already have a couple of trips on the horizon. I saw a great deal on a three-night trip to Reykjavik, Iceland in January. We'll be flying WOW Air. They're one of the new low-fare airlines where you pay extra for just about anything. You're allowed one carry-on weighing no more than 5 kilos (11 pounds). If you want to carry on a heavier bag, you pay. If you want to check a bag, you pay. If you want to check two or even three bags, you pay more. If you want a seat assignment, you pay. Getting an idea now of how the deal I saw was so great?

We've got our fingers crossed that we'll return to Hue, Vietnam in June 2016. It's the tenth anniversary of the start of the University of Virginia - Hue University connection, and it sounds as if they'd like the husband to do another class. As for people who tell me how hot and humid it will be in Vietnam in June, I already know that. The husband was the concerned one, at least until I pointed out that he would be living in an air-conditioned hotel, teaching in an air-conditioned classroom, and working in an air-conditioned office. I'm the one who would (will) be outside in the elements for long periods each day.

The limited luggage on WOW Air actually ties in with how I was thinking of packing for Vietnam. Ready? I say that because I realize that there are people who are going to tell me I am crazy, especially when I note that the list of things I'm thinking of packing includes what I would be wearing while travelling. Two pairs of light-weight cargo pants that can unzip into shorts (not that I plan to wear shorts in Vietnam); two t-shirts; two long-sleeved, collared, buttoned shirts; one skirt; one of my ao dais; one pair each of sandals and walking shoes; and socks and underwear in corresponding numbers. Except for the fact that some of the Asian airlines only allow one carry-on, that's a carry-on sized wardrobe.

The other thing I expect some people will see as crazy is that I'm planning that the husband and I each take a camera. Sounds fine, right? At least until I say that those cameras will be small digitals, the kind that can fit in a breast or a jacket pocket. Why? Largely because I'm tired of lugging a heavy (with longer lens) DSLR or even a mid-weight one with me. I never videotaped any of the sons' performances as they grew up because I didn't want to focus more on the taping and less on them. It's the same here. I feel as if I'm thinking more about a photo than I am about what I'm seeing. I will be honest and say that I can't recall the last time I looked at any of the photos from our previous Vietnam trips. Getting the lead photo here was the first time in a long time that I'd looked through the photos from our trip to Australia in May 2014. And I've only looked at the Vietnam 2012 photos or the Iceland 2010 ones a handful of times.

I wonder, though, whether this is just due to a felt need to jettison some baggage in more general, life terms. I occasionally have a Barnes and Noble coupon for which I can't find a use. (Older son always can, though.) I walk through a store to get one item in particular and see things that I might once have wanted but now approach with a "Meh." If I see something that will make a perfect gift for someone else, I still buy it. I just don't impulse buy for myself. I will continue to ponder this all as the Iceland trip approaches. If I change my mind and decide to take a larger camera, I'll so confess. In the meantime, I need to post this and get on writing about the sweater from Hell.

1 comment:

Debi said...

Doesn't sound crazy to me. Just wise.