I am a nomad. A traveler. My life is like a rolling stone, it gathers no moss. I’m a tumbleweed that rolls and blows through places and spaces. Until recently, I lived in 3 places Boston, the coast of South Carolina, and the mountains of Colorado, dividing my life, my toothpaste, makeup, pots, pans, friends, culture, accents, activities, everything, amongst the three. A tiny apartment in Boston, no car, the city life, subways, commuter rail, shopping daily for most meals. A home in SC, laid back fishing village and the LowCountry life. A place in the mountains of Colorado, my hippie bretheren, cowboys, snowboarding, hiking, cyclying, fly fishing, a veritable outdoors paradise. While that can sound somewhat glamorous…it ain’t what it’s cut out to be.
Now, if you’re a Trump with private airplanes, an entourage of assistants who do everything for you including carrying you luggage, cleaning your bathrooms, having your meals cooked, ensuring that you have your snail mail delivered from one location to another, airing out the musty smelling house you’re coming to, doing your grocery shopping, even removing the layers of dust that accumulate on furniture when you’re gone from one of the houses for 3+ months and when you leave, just walking out with your purse and ‘Paris Hilton’ Fido in your arms, then, yeah, it’s ‘glam.’ But, if you’re a ‘grunt,’ and look more like a Bosnian refugee carrying your life in bags, and you have to do all this and more, then it’s only semi-glam. I mean I don’t want to sound sour grapes or ungrateful, reeealllly, Ally, spare me!
Growing up in the hollers of southern West Virginia, life was not easy—there was no spin washing machine, there was a wringer washer. There was no dryer. You hung the clothes out on the clothes lines. There was no central air. You opened windows in the summer, and you had box fans in the windows. There was no central heat. There were radiators, and the heat came from shoveling coal into the firepit in the basement. Little did I know that my childhood training was preparing me for my semi-glam adult life. And, I am grateful and blessed. It gives me the roots and firm grounding that I need to not ‘get above my raisin’!
Back story information important to understanding why this was a disastrous travel day—trust me, it’s pertinent to appreciating the challenges!
Traveling between our South Carolina and Colorado homes means I fly, and I fly a lot. I have a creek cat named, Callie. She’s not a glam kitty like Paris Hilton’s muffin face. Callie’s a 12 year-old ‘tortie’ who for 10 years was semi-feral and lived in our AC units with her roommate, an opossum. Her tail’s probably been broken several times, it’s skinny and slightly hairless, like her opossum roomie’s. Her face and ears look surprisingly like a gremlin, and her swaying back because of her heretofore fractured pelvis (which prompted me to take her, help heal her, and domesticate her) gives rise to arthritis and trouble with leaping and jumping. When she flies, I give her a small dose of medication that helps ‘relax’ her, takes the edge off the ear-popping elevation climbing, helps her sleep through the sometimes 10-hour+ traveling from point to point. But, it gives her a funky look in her eyes as a film glazes about halfway over her pretty emerald-green peepers, and her body is limp and sloushy.
Because I blog, cook, photograph, and make video blogs, I have to have a considerable amount of equipment—an expensive Nikon with several lenses, tripod(s), a handheld video camera, a regular video camera, a laptop, cords, three external hard drives and a janitor’s ring of thumb drives, both replete with food photos, raw footage video clips, blog posts, my myriad of notebooks of recipes that I write as I’m cooking, cookbooks, etc. All of this must be schlepped back and forth between houses, all of this goes into one carry-on piece of luggage. So, between Callie in her carry-on bag and my piece of luggage weighing nearly 25-30 pounds, this is what I travel with. Oh, yes, I do have a simple small purse that I crisscross, messenger style, over my shoulder trying desperately to disguise as I board knowing that you are allowed only two carry on pieces!
When we travel from/to our Colorado home, we fly out of Denver International Airport. That’s about 2.5 hours from our home in the mountains, which means when the weather is good, it’s a glorious drive through the Rockies on I70 where your eyes feast on some of God’s finest creations and climbing to elevations of nearly 12 thousand feet as we leave the ‘Mile-High City.’ When the weather is bad, as in snow, the drive becomes a knuckle gripping, tense, stressful, slow and laborious drive as you struggle through white outs and high winds. You pray you’re not going off the snow and ice packed road cuz it’s all one massive glacier of ice. Sometimes you don’t even know you’re getting near the edge of the road unless you hear the rumble and buzzing of the drunk bumps.
Finally, this travel day was punctuated by the fact that I was still fighting the flu, feeling really crummy, achy joints down to my shin bones, and Ben was recovering from eye surgery of a prior few days. Plus, he awoke that morning (we had to get up at 4:30 a.m.) of our travel with gout, (yep, the ‘rich man’s disease’) in one foot, and it was so swollen, red and inflamed. Nasty lookin’, and I only imagine how painful. He couldn’t even get his regular shoes on, so it was slippers for travel. Now, that’s ‘old’, huh? Thank goodness we weren’t driving cuz we’d fit right in with the gang at the next Cracker Barrel stop for food! He was hobbling around the house like ‘Festus’ on the old TV show ‘Gunsmoke.’ I was downing ibuprophen and Theraflu. All I could think about was my mom’s words of ‘wisdom’ (like many of her sayings) as she grew older, ‘Gettin’ old’s hell..’ Dang, was she looking down right now on us chuckling! I mean I couldn’t appreciate what she meant by those words during my prime energetic and young years of life. Look who’s getting the last laugh. Touche, Mom! I shouldah been more patient and understanding with you.
After fumbling around early the morning of travel in that ‘sleep walk’ state, we finally were ready to pull out in the dark and head to Denver. Thank goodness for the clear roads, the good weather, and the rising sunshine lighting our way over the mountain. Interestingly, we talked about deep topics like asking each other what our greatest fears were about growing old. Conversations like that usually don’t happen unless you’re sequestered—like in a car for over 2 hours. As we approached the front range coming into Denver, the sun was blaring glaring and rising—we were coming East, and Mr. Sunshine was letting us know that! My lips were kinda dry, so I looked down to find my purse to get some lipstick. I moved the big white towel that I’d put in my lap, over my all black outfit as Callie sheds like crazy. I shuffled around the water bottles. No purse. With my seatbelt on, I twisted myself into a yoga posture to feel and look in the back seat and floor. Swatting with one hand, I moved Callie’s carrier. No purse. My heart started racing, thumping so hard it was about to burst out of my chest. My mouth was getting dry, my hands sweaty and clammy. In a panting voice, I said, “OMG! Ben I can’t find my purse…how will I get on this flight…what will I do??” Total panic had set in! I wanted to stop the car, rip out all the luggage, throw things around, surely it was somewhere in this car!
Ben, in his typical calming manner and logical, sound thinking, “Now, let’s think this through before arriving at a conclusion…” and he began his ritual of questions—he was in full CEO mode, using big words like mayonnaise, as if he were in a board meeting with a company where the red ink was flooding, and the ship was about to go under, but—all aimed at helping me collect my thoughts and bring a semblance of sanity to my thinking. All I could think was that I would miss the flight, have to drive back over the mountain alone, well, with my drugged and half-conscious Callie, and I’d have to rebook this flight, IF I could at any price, for the next day knowing that I had an important appointment in NC the following day. And, I was ready for South Carolina! He assured me that we’d stop soon, get gas before we headed to the off airport long-term parking, and let me tear apart the vehicle looking for the purse and praying that I’d been in a flu-induced semi-coma while leaving the house, but still had enough wits about me to remember my life, my identity, my credit cards, my cash—my purse. If it wasn’t there Ben gently said, we’d cross the next bridge. I wanted to rip out his vocal chords!! A deep breath. Thank goodness for yoga—pranayama, antara kumbhaka, recaka, and bahya kumbhaka. No luck. I went back to blubbering dog panting—it seemed like an eternity to the next exit gas stop! Read on~