the MIRREN LEE

The 2012 Act Three Journey of an Actress/Coach/Writer.

Day 58 Have a Nice Trip?

Posted by themirrenlee on 27/02/2012

Slow but steady is the only way I can manage to travel. I wish I had as tough a back as this little guy (girl?)!

Have a nice trip?

Yes, I did, thanks, when I fell off the curb while putting my suitcase in the car after my cat sitting weekend. I gave up trying to wear anything even remotely resembling a heel on my shoes about a million years ago, after finally having to admit that I’m too clumsy, and my ankles are too weak, to trust that I don’t break something. My ankle weakness was revealed to me during the one and only time that I tried to ice skate. Hilariously impossible! (My poor daughter inherited the same weakness, going so far as to actually break her ankle during her {last} attempt to ice skate.)

And STILL I manage to fall off curbs, trip over imaginary potholes, and fall off flat sandals! An astrologer once told me that I was clumsy because I’m an Aquarian with something in Capricorn that makes it so. But he also told me that I had a short lifeline and would probably only live to see about 56. Real ethical there, boyo. Now that I’m 61, I don’t think I’ll believe the clumsy reasoning, either. I’ve had to accept I’m just a natural born klutz.

I’ll have a better trip, I’m sure, when I go to Sydney to see my son’s family on Wednesday. I’ll be staying there for 3 whole weeks, enough time to have him help me set this website up properly. Can’t wait!

I love travel, but hate the actual mechanics of traveling, only because of my health and stamina issues. My muscles protest at hauling luggage, my sinuses hate plane air conditioning (and the pressure changes of take offs and landings), my back hates sitting or standing for very long, and I don’t sleep well unless I’m in a bed, so long distance flights leave me exhausted. Not to mention that I’m a person who takes 3 weeks to get over jet lag!

And yet I love travel itself so much. New places, people, languages and experiences – just fantastic. Before Fibromyalgia tore through my body, I used to hit a new city and just walk until I’d seen most of everything there was to see. I really miss being able to do that. But this year is about getting stronger and experiencing a lessening of my symptoms, so I’m going to believe that I’ll eventually be able again to thoroughly explore a place on foot.

I have to say that they’ve also made travel itself, by plane, not such a pleasant experience. Everyone knows that. It’s such a joke to think that we’ve never had greater technology, or facilities (your own first class cabin, anyone?), to enjoy on board a flight, or faster travel times, and yet the experience is more unpleasant than it’s ever been. When I came to Australia from Los Angeles in 1969, the flight took almost 19 hours, and included stops in Hawaii and Fiji. You can now fly direct in about 12 hours – it just seems like 19 with all the crap we go have to go through just to get on board the damned plane!

I know it’s supposed to be all about security, but I’m not so sure that it’s been handled as well as it could have been. Give bureaucracies a chance to make our lives difficult, and they’ll jump on it like a cat on a mouse!

That’s why I love ship travel. In the “old days” (as late as the 70s), it was still an affordable way to go. I took a Greek ship with my son from Australia to Los Angeles in 1974, and then we went from England to Australia in 1980 on a Russian ship. (Big story coming from that trip – we called it The Death Ship!)

Then I discovered freighter travel. There’s a whole world of freighters that take a few passengers along with their cargo, in wonderful accommodations, including the owner’s cabin (obviously, when he’s not in it!). My last trip was in 2006, from Melbourne to Los Angeles, and it was bliss. Over 3 weeks, we stopped in Tauranga (New Zealand), Tahiti, and Ensenada, Mexico along the way. We had to go up and down many flights of stairs from our cabins to the galley for meals, so I lost about 10 pounds, which was a great bonus! I also read 22 books. (Yes, I counted them.) I watched DVDs on my laptop, and in between slept or stared at the ocean. Passengers have the run of the ship, and the crew are so friendly and helpful. A lot of my crew were from Kiribati, and I was ashamed to admit I’d never even heard of that island. It’s a wonderful, wonderful way to travel. I landed refreshed, pain free, thinner (!) and suffered no jet lag. Not to mention how smart I felt after reading 22 books!

This year, as part of my overall plan, I want to visit Los Angeles at the end of the year. If I could do it by freighter, I would be able to totally relax and not stress about what plane travel does to my body. However, I’ll have to find the money, somehow, as the problem is that the oil prices raised the price of ship travel. In the great scheme of things, it’s not that expensive for daily accommodation and all meals over about 3 weeks, but it still adds up now to about $3,500., with taxes. The amazing thing is, just last year they started a service from Asia to Australia, as well, so it is now possible to take freighters all around the world, and never have to set foot in a plane. Bliss!

BTW, studies have shown that ship travel leaves less of a carbon footprint than plane travel, so you’re also helping the environment. Amazing, right?

I recommend it to everyone, and if you’re interested in finding out more, just Google “freighter travel” and you’ll find agents who will send you out regular newsletters on which ships are going where and when. Just remember that because it’s freighter travel, you have to be a bit flexible with your dates. They’re at the mercy of cargo loading and unloading, so they’re not always totally precise. But hey, that feels more like “real” traveling, doesn’t it? Spontaneity: what a concept!

Tomorrow I pack for Wednesday’s trip. Yuk. The other part of traveling I don’t like. I always forget something, or pack the wrong type of clothes for the weather. But my new vow to stay stress free this year tells me it doesn’t matter. Just “be”.

I hope there’s a bit of travel in everyone’s life, even if it’s just a short hop for a change of scenery. Studies have shown (you know, by “them”) that it’s good for your mental and emotional outlook, which, of course, helps the physical you.

So Bon Voyage!

I’m just trippin’ …

2 Responses to “Day 58 Have a Nice Trip?”

  1. Enjoy your trip to Sydney and don’t forget to post. Looking forward to it.

    • Thank you so much. Don’t worry, posting every day is my single biggest commitment this year. I am SO determined to at least show up daily, even if I can’t write much. Like tonight! Thanks for reading. And I find your posts very interesting – it’s always good to read about people who try different things to make it better, rather than just giving into it. Keep it up!

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