Getting Away in Gatlinburg!

Tomorrow the husband and I are getting on an early flight to Knoxville for a short vacation. Never mind that we have never taken vacations before – we’ll learn how to do it. Never mind that we’re only doing this because it’s a time share sales pitch and we have to resist listen to a two hour hard sell.  We get three nights, four days in the Smoky Mountains! Sweet.

Our time away from home has always consisted of trips to see family, business trips, and solo trips where one of us stayed home. We have gone out to dinner a number of times, does that count? Part of our problem has been that it is hard work to plan and take a vacation. It is harder work than just staying home and going to work as usual. And it is costlier than staying home, for the most part. Watching TV away from home can easily costs $100 a night whereas at home, the same amount pays for a whole month! Enough of that, we’re going.

Our destination is close to Gatlinburg, the “gateway to the Smokies”, which sounds lovely to me. I want to wander the quaint streets with occasional glances at the nearby views of mountains and streams. I want to ride the cable tram over the valley.  I want to be a tourist!

One of the days I am promising myself a hike to a waterfall. I have looked at the maps and there are so many trails to choose from I’m going to have a hard time picking just one. Daughter Julia hopes to truck over from North Carolina to hike with me. My new trekking pole doesn’t quite fit in the suitcase we’re taking but the husband is going to find it “necessary” for his stability in the airport, so it’s going.

A late breakfast tomorrow in Gatlinburg. It will be wonderful! The only thing that could ruin it would be if we came back owning a time-share. Just sayin’ … (and prayin’…).

Encouraged by the message on a flyer in the mail, she set off on a vacation.

They Left

Crying lately, sometimes outwardly, mostly inwardly. I think it helps. Crying maybe leaves room for hope because I have never been able to cry forever.

Today my so ordinary life has been putting the furniture back in place. The air mattresses are deflated and rolled up. The sheets and towels are washed. The extra dishes are back in the cupboard. All my secrets have been exposed, like the rolls of cat hair under the sofa, the disorder of my physical, mental and emotional worlds.

I love to have family visiting in my home, so why didn’t I end up with a home that had room for visitors? Didn’t God know? That’s silly. He knew we needed a few things to be inconvenient/gross/dangerous in order to bond. In order to make memories. I hope they remember how much I love them. How good it was to know I could still put the kayaks in the water and paddle a ways. How good it was to know I could still survive a little sleep deprivation. How good it was to become more familiar with their ways, their sayings, their pastimes, their clothing, They were easy keepers and I loved every minute. Maybe they will come again if I don’t make them sleep outside in a tent, and if the dog next door doesn’t bark all night. But we would have figured all that out if they had stayed longer than three nights. We would have.

A small inward cry as I miss them.

Here we go again…

???????????????Here we go again…

I am excited.  It is only hours before a season of travel begins, and instead of getting ready I’m sitting here writing about how I’m not ready.  Thoughts about traveling are fighting to get out of my head.

I am going to my first, original home to be with family and friends, celebrating Thanksgiving.  I love everyone I am going to be with. Even before that, I love talking to strangers in the airport and on the plane.  I love being free to watch what is going on around me and observe people.  There is such freedom in not having a job to do other than keeping bombs from being planted in my luggage. Almost every routine of my daily life is changed to something new.

Flight attendants bring me the beverage of my choice – this happens never at home.

I get to sit in/drive a nearly new car.

I can eat fast food without feeling guilty because it’s about the only choice.

And at my destination I have that unique position of half guest, half helper.  It allows me to work alongside others and see what is going on in their lives.  It means I can stay up late visiting if there’s an opportunity, or get up early and have that first cup of coffee with someone special.  It means I can probably take a nap if I’m tired, or take a couple hours off to write or read.  There’s time to think about living while I’m doing it.

And even while the excitement builds, there’s a conflict. I feel it every time.  I am a split personality when it comes to travel.  There is so much to like about being away, and yet I am as much a home body as anyone could be.  I love my home, the husband, the cats, the yard, the old car, the commitments, the friends, even the job (sort of) (don’t spread that around).  To be happy and involved in one place, you have to lose touch with where you’re not.  And even when I know I’m coming back, there is a bit of sadness in stepping away from the familiar.

Will the husband be able to find food in the refrigerator?

Will my strawberry plants die if we get a freeze?

Will my cat forgive me for being gone?

Will I come back to a mountainous pile of junk mail? Laundry?

Will I be the same person that I was?  Probably not.

I’m just sayin’, here we go again…