27 July 2011

A Case of Tourista

No, it wasn't because of the water, and it wasn't what one might expect.

It was me!

My enjoyment of the past week's sights and sounds and tastes and smells (and I did enjoy them thoroughly) couldn't overcome the growing uneasiness I felt at being a leisure traveler.  It gnawed at me the whole time.

I don't like finding myself counted among the pampered and the privileged.  I don't like the separation that comes when I stay in surroundings that are cleaned and tended to by those who couldn't begin to stay in them, when I eat food prepared and served by people who couldn't begin to eat it.  I would love to say to them, "I'm your brother, let me be what you need me to be," but my actions say, "I'm your master, and you're supposed to make my whims come true."  I would love for their well-being to be my highest concern.  Instead, my comfort becomes theirs. 

I will have occasion to need overnight lodging from time to time.  My kids' colleges are too far away for pick ups and drop offs to be single-day events.  When I make such trips, I stay one-star cheap.  Clean linens and a clean bathroom are more than enough.  Maybe in time I can do without even that much, staying with friends or relatives, perhaps, or camping if that's an option.

But leisure travel?  I think I'm ready to resolve not to engage in leisure travel again.  It just turns me into something I did not ordain to be.  And no sight or sound or taste or smell on earth can compensate for that.

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