Thursday, June 25, 2009
DH and I are planning a two-week trip to South America - specifically Rio and then Santiago and Valparaiso, Chile. We have a friend in Rio, she offered us her spare room. DH is insisting on a hotel. My sweet niece, who is a volunteer at a community center in Valparaiso, offered to find friends who could put us up for our time there. I declined, with thanks.
Twenty or thirty years ago, that's how DH and I travelled. Who knows how many floors, spare rooms, couches, chairs, bus/train stations and airports we've slept in - plus lawns, in cars, on and on. We've both travelled around the globe with a single backpack - or in DH's case one summer, just a pillowcase - and slept in odd places, helped by the good will of strangers.
But now, aged 54 and 61, we want a little privacy. An en suite bathroom no longer seems like a luxury but has become a necessity. We want to sleep in a bed with plenty of room, not on a narrow bench or on a floor. The body just needs a little more support, a little more softness, a little elevation to climb out of rather than off from.
I'm sure we'll still have impromptu picnics of a loaf of bread, chunk of cheese, bottle of wine. But those items will no longer be the absolutely cheapest on the shelves.
We're no longer budget travellers. We're no longer the fresh-faced youths travelling the world. It saddens me a little. But when I climb into a bed with fresh sheets and no insects, well, I'll admit I like that a lot too.