In a Stew

Didn’t sleep very well last night, or the night before that either.  Images from the days headlines kept flashing through my mind.  “Paris Strikes Lead to Significant Flight Cancellations.”  “Strikes Cut Fuel to Paris Airports.”  “Train Service in Paris Cut by 50 Percent.”  “Paris Air Traffic Controllers Walk Off the Job.” My normal reaction to headlines like these would be little more than a “tsk tsk.”  However, we’re supposed to fly to Paris on Saturday night, a trip that’s been in the making for more than six months.  Hours of careful preparation and planning, including arranging for my son and daughter in law to house sit watch out for my mom while we’re gone, could very easily go up in the smoke from firebombs thrown by some angry protesters on the Paris streets.

I admit, I’m not an intrepid traveler.  Especially when it comes to foreign travel, I like to prepare for every eventuality and do everything I can to make sure things will go smoothly and without incident.  The older I get, the harder it is for me to take the necessary risks associated with traveling.  There is a part of me that really prefers to stay home in my slippers, comfy and cozy in my own little house.  I’m perfectly happy here, so why should I risk discomfort, inconvenience, perhaps even downright danger, just to go somewhere and see a bunch of monuments and paintings, or pay exorbitant prices to eat fancy food and drink fancy wine?

So I could quite easily talk myself out of this trip.  You see, I come from a long line of non-travelers, people who are almost pathologically obsessed with being home.  My mother was always a reluctant, if not  a completely rebellious traveler. We rarely ventured far enough away from home to require an overnight stay in a strange bed.  When I was younger, not only did I not understand it, I had no patience with it.  Why wouldn’t anyone want to go new places and see new things?

Confession time –  within the last year or two I’ve begun feeling my own reluctance about leaving home.  Each time I prepare for a trip, even one to my “second home” in Florida, I have to fight back a certain amount of anxiety.   I look around my home where everything is familiar and safe, and feel the cold hand of fear grip my heart when I think about leaving it.

What am I afraid of?

Mostly of the unknown and different.  Of the possibility that something “bad” might happen while I was gone and I wouldn’t be here to take care of it.  Of being apart from all the convenient and comfortable routines of my life, the ones that make me feel I’m in control of some small bit of this crazy world we live in.

While I read about the turmoil in this city where I’m about to travel, a tiny, cowardly part of me is almost grateful for a good reason to stay home, is almost hoping the flight will be cancelled and the whole decision will be taken out of my hands.

So, I’m in a stew.  Don’t know what will happen – here, or in Paris.

I’ll keep you posted.



10 thoughts on “In a Stew

  1. I have a friend in England whose husband travels to France for business, and I noted a few days ago that there was a rail strike. I told her I hoped it wouldn’t affect him, but I confess I didn’t realize it had escalated so badly.

    I did hear that part of the uproar is over a proposed change in retirement age – from 60 to 62. Good gosh. Context is everything, I guess.

    I hope things resolve so that you’re able to go, and enjoy, and not worry. Travel’s become enough of a hassle – air travel, at least – that I don’t look forward to it as I once did. I was a traveling fool for a while, and flew then like I get in the car now. But things have changed, and adding threats and such in with the hassle does make it seem far less appealing.

    Of course, you might get there, and be unable to leave, and be taken under the wing of a lovely French couple who just happen to have this perfectly exquisite cottage in Provence, who are in dire need of someone to watch over their propert while they make an obligatory trip to visit an ailing relative in the Caucasus…… 😉

    • Funny how we don’t pay much attention to things going on outside our little worlds until they start to affect us. And yes, I’m not immune to the fact that all these protests are related to a two year escalation in the working age. Hmm. We’re looking at working until we’re about 70 here. Different strokes for different folks.

  2. I, too, am not crazy about traveling abroad… for some of the same reasons you mentioned. You may find there is nothing to worry about… and I hope you get to go and enjoy your trip… but this news is a valid concern. Sure, there’s a time to take risks, but comfort and safety has merit, too. Let us know how it goes. Prayers and good vibes coming your way.

  3. I understand this reluctance to travel. It isn’t my favorite thing to do, and I’m most comfortable at home. I think most people are. I’m always so happy to return home after a trip. I hope things settle down over there and you can travel safely.

  4. don’t be afraid of the turmoil of demonstrations and fire bombs…..Paris is a big city, as long as you don’t walk along the protest you do not notice. Riots are usually in their suburbs where you probably won’t hang out at all. It’s really not that bad. They only thing I hope is that you are not affected by strikes when you need transport. The French do love to strike and have been doing a lot of it.

    But France is a beautiful beautiful country with marvelous food and so much things to see. It’s really great

    and if you want to escape, Belgium is not even 1h by train away and we are a calm country 🙂

  5. I was thinking about you yesterday, wondering if you were already there or getting ready to go. I, for one, hope your trip is not canceled. You will find Paris beautiful, interesting and yes, delicious. True, it CAN be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be that bad, depending on how and where you eat (personally, if it’s a lovely day, give me cheese, bread, some fruit and a bottle of wine, and the fountain by the Louvre or the steps of Sacre Coeur or the plaza at Notre Dame or any number of sites) as the sun goes down and the lights of Paris come up. Museum passes get you into many for one price, if you have it in your heart and feet to go to so many. Your friends will guide you well.

    I suspect, since you are traveling with them, the may know others who live in Paris. I don’t have my friend’s info with me, but do check the blog of Tara Bradford (Paris Parfait on my blog roll). She lives there and is simply lovely. If you get stranded, she may be able to offer the advice of an almost-native. Let her know you’re coming, you’re concerned. I think you could probably contact her from the blog profile.

    And who knows — what an adventure to write about! I wish you a wonderful voyage with all-good experiences to come. And have heart! And comfy shoes.

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