Traveling is often seen as the ultimate adventure, a way to explore new cultures, meet new people, and gain experiences that can change your perspective on life. However, as you reach midlife, the allure of travelling can start to lose its appeal. Instead of jetting off to far-flung destinations, some people find that staying put is the perfect way to embrace this stage of life. In this article, Melodee Currier explores why midlife is the ideal time to stay close to home, and why the case against travelling may be stronger than you think.
Gone are the days when I was in my late teens and dreamed of going to Florida from Ohio on the back of a motorcycle to sleep on the beach.
Fast forward five decades and I am no longer the happy wanderer. Popular vacation sites such as Las Vegas, Key West and San Francisco, are on my “never visit again” list. Years ago, driving the Tail of the Dragon (318 curves in 11 miles) in North Carolina/Tennessee to visit the Snowbird Mountain Lodge sent me into hysterics.
Even my best travel experiences were filled with some anxiety and I always looked forward to coming home. My “what ifs” scream loudest the moment we drive away from our house on the way to the airport. I worry about leaving our 17-year-old cat Seiko and also the safety of our house. And with the onset of COVID, I have been concerned about that too, so much so that we haven’t travelled anywhere in the past four years.
Another problem is that our home is filled with many comforts which can’t be duplicated on a trip. We have ceiling fans and TVs in every room, a Sleep Number bed with satin comforter, down pillows and the comfiest remote recliner you ever sat in. To top that off, our lovable cat is on my lap 24/7 while I enjoy my special coffee or wine. All my favorite things to do are at home too so when we travel, I can easily get bored.
A hotel room is often ridden with germs not only on the TV remote but everywhere. Bed bugs can also be a problem. Usually, there is no ceiling fan and the bed is uncomfortable and way too high for me. What can travel give me that I can’t get at home?
When I was five years old, I started flying by myself twice a year to visit my father – from Ohio to Florida or New York. The stewardesses would let me pass out the sample cigarettes. I loved flying then. But as the years went by, I grew to fear the turbulence and the possibility of a crash. Also, frequent delays and cancellations just add to an already unpleasant experience. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have to camp out in an airport, but it happens all the time.
Ever since I developed osteoarthritis a few years ago, it has been difficult for me to walk any distance. And I can’t stand for more than five or ten minutes or my lower back hurts severely and I need to sit down. On the last cruise we took I had difficulty even standing for the 15-minute muster instructions. For all these reasons – and more — a cramped bus or train tour is out of the question too.
What happened to the girl who danced on a table at The Gordian Knot in New York City?
Not all our trips have been anxiety ridden though. I enjoyed our cruise to the British Isles, driving the California coast, New York City and Waikiki was absolute heaven.
There is only one trip on my bucket list – a Northern European cruise. Just when I get excited thinking about the possibilities of visiting Paris, Berlin, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, The Netherlands and Brussels, departing from England, I have second thoughts and decide to limit future trips to driving just one to two hours from our house.
I am sure some of my friends will gasp when they realize what a baby I am when it comes to travel. Some of them own fabulous RVs and go all over the United States for two or three months at a time and some jet set to places I can’t even spell.
One thing is for sure. I don’t suffer from Notriphobia: The fear of not having any trips booked. Looks like it’s time to take a trip upstairs though. It’s happy hour and my cat and husband are waiting for me. I love being home!