Another level of Hell

Some prefer to travel alone, and for very good reasons. The adage of “Two is company, three is a crowd” is very true. Travel by committee can be quite disconcerting for the extremely independent.

I’ve done some small trips alone, but for the most part my travel, and I’ll be treading dangerous waters here, but “Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead!”,has been done with others. Family and friends are usually my companions, whether it was my kids, my spouse or siblings. But now as some time has elapsed, I’m single, the kids are grown and there is only one or two of seven siblings that I would even consider traveling with (Not that they would ever consider traveling with me) I find almost all my journeys now are with two very good friends. One is male, and one is female. Each of the genders has their up side and down side with regards to travel. Some of these sides are overtly negative or positive and some are much more subtle. Being a guy, obviously I think I have a better grasp of hitting the road with another guy. It’s the fairer sex that never fails to confound me, and that’s what I’ll attempt to focus on here.

When I mentioned to a buddy of mine that I’d be going to China with my gal pal he casually stated, “Sounds like a great trip, you might even like the country too.” While I admire his optimism I’m still not convinced it’ll be that simple. My fingers are crossed that he’ll be right. Let me clarify, it’s not like I’ve never traveled with women before, in fact lots of my oversea excursions have been in the exclusive company of women, the most frightening of which was with wife, mother, and young daughter. I used to hide from them. A trip I took earlier this year was with said gal pal her daughter and my daughter. It went pretty smoothly until the trip home fell apart and I had to take charge getting them home. I knew it was going south when I had two of the three in tears saying, “What are we going to do??” In the end it all worked out and everyone was happy. I was a few dollars lighter but it seemed a small price to pay to avoid lots of unwarranted tears. My ex and I used to travel very well together especially when we were without the kids. It was one of the few things we actually did together that functioned friction free.

Then there is the other more abstract, unknowing, mysterious and downright dysfunctional side. Mistakes are perceived to have been made. The air temperature either drops or rises drastically. Mutterings under the breath or cold calculated statements about ones character, intelligence or wisdom or lack thereof are traded back and forth. Hotel rooms and airplane seats are changed, you were part of a team and now as suddenly as a blindside roundhouse you are utterly and totally alone. So close yet so very far away. It can happen in the blink of an eye, you watched it happen in slow motion, but it seems you were totally powerless to stop it from degenerating to the point of no return.

Right about then I start to think I’m out of my mind. What was I thinking? Why can’t the women I know be like the ones I see trucking all about the world with their guys, living in filthy hostels, not shaving or bathing and all the while seemingly not only enjoying it, but also loving it?

Here we are in a three or four star place, she has 75% of the closet space, 60% of the bathroom sink space, her own bed, the remote control, has made almost all of the daily plans, led me about by the nose for the last week and a half and now that I’ve left the seat up on the toilet (Although insert any one of a myriad of perceived transgressions) I’m an inconsiderate no good bastard! Well hell, tell me something I didn’t already know would you please!

Ok, so what I just did was paint (At least for me anyway) a worst-case scenario. Doesn’t always happen that way. If I have a modicum of luck it won’t this time either, in fact it hasn’t happened the last few times, but it has happened in the past. I guess the question begs to be asked “So why do it?” It’s a great question too, and one I’m not sure I have the answer to. Suffice to say, very little in my life occurs in a manner some might refer to as smooth. I guess I’m a bit inured to adversity and actually might have a perverse addiction to it.

Ultimately these outward journeys become very inward ones. So I suppose if this type of adversity helps me be a better more considerate, cultivated individual then in the long run it’s a beneficial sacrifice.

Now I can concentrate on the people who actually live in the country I’m visiting.

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