The Trouble with Travelbugitis

Back in the olden days when most of us got married, travel was something we dreamed of. We quietly had Travelbugitis but Military aside, most of the folks I know didn't start traveling until they went to the hospital to watch their first-born delivered. There were also some Sunday dinners at Grandma's every once and awhile and those all-important Christmas gatherings.

Those were the days... kids without car seats, tumbling around in the back of the car, fighting and crying from their exhausting day with all their cousins. Crabby parents, smoking cigarettes and going over who said what and which potluck dish was the best... or worst. It's a good thing these were short trips.

As we grew older the dreaded Sunday drive was added. Kids were supposed sit quietly in the back seat, not fight and act excited about the stuff we drove by. The parents were still smoking but now they had a radio to listen to. Let it be known that my brother and I didn't do well in captivity and found ways to bug each other without getting caught. The giant hand would come through that hole between the seats if we got caught. This is travel?

Our main exposure to travel was through black and white movies showing people in places doing things we could only imagine. Of course we learned about the world in school but Travelbugitis does not bloom on a bus full of sweaty kids headed for the local museum. Aside from spitwad wars, “Movie day” in history class didn't exactly accomplish much either.

In 1965 the most we had to look forward to was the thing they used to call, “Senior Skip Day.” I don't know about yours, but mine was spent on a bus which took us to faraway Portland to see My Fair Lady. Then we went to a fancy German restaurant where few of us knew how to order or what to do with all the silverware choices. Then we spent the trip back on the bus trying to neck without getting caught by one of the 3,000 chaperons.

As we grew older, got married and went to work, travel depended on employment. You either traveled for work or traveled because you had a really good job and could afford it. For most of us, that was not a possibility so we dreamed about travel and did a lot of planning. Some of us were even clever enough to put money away for travel and retirement.

Most of us lived simply. We didn't go to Disneyland with our kids but we went camping and fishing. We took day trips which is another way to say “dreaded Sunday drive.” We traveled when we could and with what money we had. Some of us went from tents to campers. Baby steps.

Mr. S and I didn't get married until we were 31 years-old. It took awhile for us to get an income that would support travel. It also took awhile before he understood that his shiny new wife had a bad case of Travelbugitis. Mr. S did not want to travel, “I will not leave tidewater,” he said. ”That's it and that's all.” His years in the USN sailing in the Tonkin Gulf on a carrier with 5,000 other swell guys had eaten his travel bug like a toad.

Being a good guy, he did do a lot more traveling with me than I ever thought he would. The year I gave him tickets to Mexico for Valentines' Day I pushed him over the edge. There were scratch marks down the boarding ramp but the moment we got into the terminal in Puerto Vallarta a young boy sold him an ice cold beer for one American dollar. He turned to me and said, “I think I'm going to like this Mexico thing.” And he did.

Travelbugitis bit him hard. We went to Mexico every year but one during the following 16 years. We used up all of our retirement money on travel. Isn't that what you are supposed to do? When those wonderful years came to an end it was hard to let them go. Health issues made it impossible to continue... but what a grand time it was.

Being retired and unable to travel has its moments (this means that I get crabby) but we have great memories. I snap right out of it when we start sharing memories of those good times. Also, we share in all of your adventures on Facebook. Some days we talk about taking time to see Oregon but you can't do travel planning while sitting in your recliner. They are notoriously 'travelbugitis-proof' and have a twenty mile limit.

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