Travel Woes Worth Sharing

tired_womanAs I sit on the terrace of the Westin Milan reading a book by one of my favorite authors, she writes about her journey of being a writer. And she talks about as a writer, it’s important to write truth.  I was convicted by this and realized that as a person, I am a glass half full person which means, I generally communicate  the positive, happy truth.  However, I am an honest and fairly direct person so therefore, I do communicate things people may not want to hear.  Feedback that may hurt someone, but that comes from the heart, with good intention.  So if you have been reading my blogs, getting my Instagram pics, reading my FB posts, you will see all the beauty of our trip to Italy.  And other places I – or we – have traveled the last few months.  And beautiful, it was.  And beautiful traveling is.  But there is the other side of traveling that some people don’t talk about…the travel woes.  And as I now, ironically, sit 30,000 feet above ground on an American Airline flight to Boston, I am here to disclose some personal travel woes, to be honest, to communicate some truth about travel.

Yes, of course, traveling the world, traveling the country, taking road trips is fun, exciting, educational and freeing.  But, it’s not perfect, and it is certainly doesn’t happen without some level of suffering. Traveling through city after city after city, planes, trains and automobiles, can be ugly.  And tiring. And frustrating.

While in Italy, Rick and I rented a car and one of the days we were to drive 30 minutes and end up at an outlet mall outside of Florence.  2.5 hours later, we were sweating, irrational and still in the car, feeling like complete idiots having not found where we needed – okay wanted – to go.  And to top it off, we were running late to catch our train from Florence to Milan and ended up having to RUN through Florence, RUN through the train station with bags and bags and suitcases and backpacks and posters I didn’t want to bend and bottles of Prosecco that I didn’t want to break to BARELY make the train.  That was a low-light of Italy, for sure.  There is real stress that comes from missing a flight, from delayed flights, from cancelled flights, from getting lost, from being frustrated by who you are traveling with…it’s not always smooth sailing.

I travel for work and travel for leisure.  In both cases, I have a very hard time staying disciplined to eating healthy.  Case in point:  At the lovely O’Hare airport yesterday I tried so hard to find the best of the WORST options to eat lunch.  I landed on a quinoa veggie chili burrito from the food court at a placed named Burrito Beach that had 450 calories (vs. the 1,000 calorie meal from McDonalds that I really wanted).  I committed to not eating the whole thing as to come in at maybe 350 calories.  And this was a win for me, if you can believe that.  As a result of being on the road so often,  I am carrying 5-7 extra pounds of weight that I literally cannot get off to save my life.

And eating healthy is just the beginning of the love handles that create that great looking muffin-top I am rocking right now.  I am a physical person and generally enjoy working out and do it for my health and sanity.  I run.  I do yoga.  I play sports like volleyball and occasionally tennis.  But when I am on the road for work with meetings starting at 7:30 or 8am and events in the evenings (that inevitably have amazingly delicious unhealthy food like fried macaroni and cheese balls combined with cool cocktails and wine) it’s hard to stay in my workout routine that I have at home.  Often times I may pack my workout clothes and shoes to just have them sit sadly in my suitcase, getting no use whatsoever. #excusesexcuses

Switching gears, but still related, let’s talk about all the beautiful pictures I post when I am on vacation or traveling for work.  You know, for every super cute shot of Rick and me, there is 15-20 that I would be mortified showing anyone.  And for every mouth-watering food shot, there are dozens that are blurry, off-centered or just look absolutely disgusting and not worth sharing.  Or the moment you arrive at some really amazing landmark, the reason you have traveled thousands of miles and your memory card is full.  Or the double chins.  Or the pictures where you have to convince yourself that the camera DOES, in fact, add 5 pounds.  Or maybe it was the Panda Express I ate that literally added the 5 pounds.

Jokes and vanity aside, there are a couple more travel woes I want to share with you.  One actually came up this past weekend which is what prompted me to finish writing this post that I drafted in Milan.  Rick and I were at a party and a friend of ours came up to me to say hello and catch up.  One of the first things she said to me was “I am so envious of your trips, especially to Italy…” I am not sure about you, but I don’t want to be a person that someone is envious of.  Why?  First off, I am damaged goods saved by grace and my life and our trip to Italy wasn’t perfect and I don’t share those stories or photos for people to be envious.  I share to inspire.  I share to remind people of God’s creativity in this world.  I share to stay plugged in with family and friends that I otherwise would not be.  I share so that if someone were to travel to Italy or elsewhere, I can help them with their travel plans.  And secondly, as she talked about how she wishes her and her husband would have traveled more, traveled for longer period of times, prior to having their daughter, I looked at her and wanted to say, “I wish I could stay home, travel less and spend time with a daughter.”  It’s funny how life is.  She is pregnant and has one daughter and wants part of my life, the traveling part.  I am a global traveler without kids and would give anything to know  what it’s like to carry a baby in my belly, to give birth, to experience something so miraculous with Rick.

Finally, the toughest part of traveling is the literal and figurative distance that is created between Rick and me.  In fact, he and I were up until, oh 4am off and on the other night in a heated argument that had many parts to it, but one was my schedule.  While on one hand Rick and I are used to each other’s schedules and travel commitments, there are often times where it creates chaos in our marriage.  I am tired when I come home.  I am home for 4 days and leave again on the 5th day and during those 4 days, have 15 different things going on and forget to slow down and make room for the most important thing in my life…my marriage.  And sorry to be blunt, but, it’s pretty hard to have sex and try to get pregnant when I am hundreds of miles away from Rick.  I don’t care what anyone says, being on the road and away from your spouse is hard, can be the root of many arguments and a really difficult thing to ever get used to.

Yes, of course, I love to travel.  It is truly one of my most favorite passions in life for a multitude of reasons.  But it has many disadvantages and if I am being honest, as I promised I would be on this blog, there are days that I want to never get on an airplane again.  There are times I look at myself in the mirror, disappointed that my jeans are too tight and embarrassed by the bags under my eyes.  There are times that Rick and I have to see our therapist to help us work through communicating, lack of intimacy and pressures that come from our schedules.  There are times that I lie on my hotel room, in bed and wake up every hour because I can’t sleep.  And then I am crabby the next day.  And eat bad.  And drink too much wine.  Yeah, those moments are real.  Travel woes are real.  It’s not all roses and glitter.  Sometimes, it is sweaty and tiring and brutal and exhausting and sad and the source of fights in a marriage.

{photo credit: http://www.hotelchatter.com}

10 responses

  1. unbelievable ann. and of course, i have to say it :-), i so admire your honesty. you truly “own it” in this blog. luv you. #bff/infinity

  2. Amen! Well written.

    On Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 8:45 AM, Ann Written Notes wrote:

    > ** > A Lifestyle Blog on interior design, travel, fashion, photography and > Ann written notes along the way. posted: “As I sit on the terrace of the > Westin Milan reading a book by one of my favorite authors, she writes about > her journey of being a writer. And she talks about as a writer, it’s > important to write truth. I was convicted by this and realized that as a > perso”

  3. I like your honesty. Your blog is so interesting! Enjoy your time in Boston. The weather is gorgeous right now.

  4. I hear you! I thought Ryan was going to divorce me after Montreal. I had a 3 hour delay in Detroit (of all places) and he had to manage the entire week with the kids solo, the extra night nearly put him over the edge. Poor dude. Thank goodness for understanding spouses and a love-hate relationship with our jobs. xo

  5. Ann, I commend your honesty and being true to yourself. I just came back from vacation and told a friend about your blog and how you put yourself our there for the world to see and it’s refreshing, inspirational and genuine. You say what people think and may not say. I am a glass half full person too. And, today, I had 3 interactions with companies and their lousy customer service and parted ways with each one in a positive way (after telling them about their poor customer service). 🙂 And, I too, having traveled a lot have experienced the travel woes. Ella and I headed to Boston a week and a half ago. As I checked in for the flight, they told me that I’d be stuck in Chicago overnight “on your own”. I asked Ella if she wanted to stay in San Antonio one extra night or have an adventure (“not sure if we are staying at a hotel, a friends house or sleeping at the airport in Chicago”) – my sweet 9 year old, opted for ‘adventure’. We had the worst landing I’ve ever had with passengers screaming (we landed during a storm) and my daughter shrieking with laughter that we were on a roller coaster (‘yay, a rolller coaster, yippee). I made her hold my hand because I was afraid but it was as if she was more excited “no hands on roller coaster bar” (our hands were in the air). We landed at 11pm, got our luggage at 12am (late due to lightning within 3 miles of the airport – thus the roller coaster landing – in which people clapped upon landing), friend picked us up at 12:15am, arrived at her home at 1:10am (Ella asleep), I drank wine with my friend until 2:15am, woke up at 4:20am and headed back to airport with sleepy child at 4:50am. So, even with my travel woes, my take away is… I HAVE AWESOME FRIENDS like the one who picked us up from the airport at 12am (she was waiting at the cell phone lot before 11pm and drove us back to the airport at 4:50am). I HAVE AN AWESOME DAUGHTER WHO LOVES ADVENTURE!!!
    I love your blog Ann – great job, heartfelt honesty, inspirational. We all may want something else at a given time – but hopefully everyone finds that they have what suits them the most.

    PS. Sorry for my long post.

  6. Ann,

    I loved reading this post. You are so refreshing and honest and relate things in your life which mirror so many of our lives but we always want to put on air of perfection. Absolutely, without the Grace of God, I would be in such a worse place with myself, my family, my work. It is because of the saving Grace of Jesus that my life is so much richer and happier!

  7. Pingback: Friday Round Up: Boston, Instagrammed. « Ann Written Notes

  8. Ann, I am just now reading this…..It’s been a wild 2 months for me and I can relate in so many different ways. Love your honesty and I truly believe everyone feels like this at times.

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