We are back from our cruise that we planned in January. This was a big trip for us; we were going to be away for two weeks, our longest time spent away from home. Lots of planning went into it, including balancing my work schedule to accommodate clients’ on-going needs and goals.
There were a few things on my mind as I prepared for this trip. First, I did not want to overpack, which we both ended up doing. Second, I wanted to make sure that I had all medical necessities covered in case I could not find a drug store in port. Third, I was stressed about the overseas travel since the last time we flew “over the pond” was in 1980 and the experience was less than pleasant. And fourth, I was concerned about flying out of JFK since we never know what the traffic conditions will be to get there.
Yes, I can control my packing. I knew going in that there was a launderette on our floor, as well as free access to laundry service. As it turns out, I enjoyed the down time spent in the launderette. I got to meet some very interesting people, as well as admire the men who were doing their laundry and ironing—yes, I said men were ironing! It became a place to meet, kind of like my version of “Cheers,” but instead of beer suds, it was laundry suds. Half of our clothing never got used. I could have travelled with a carry-on and been fine. Next time I will know better. (Please hold me to this!)
Between the eye drops, Tylenol, cortisone cream etc., I did not use most of it (except for the sunscreen, which I applied every morning). I was glad that I had the supplies, and they brought me comfort knowing they were there. Any hair products that I packed were useless in the extreme heat and humidity of the Italian coastline.
I forgot that I booked the bulk-head seat outbound and it provided the necessary leg room for our long legs. Although I dozed for only about two hours, and then they woke us up to serve breakfast at 1:30 a.m. Eastern time, I was still able to function in the Zurich airport where we changed flights to our final destination. Upon arrival in Venice we were able to take a nice walk, eat dinner and enjoy the canals and bridges.
The long flight home had 525 passengers and 24 crew on a double decker plane. First and Business Class boarded from a different jetway that took those passengers upstairs. In Economy, we still had decent leg room, but once the seat in front of me reclined fully, I had about 8 inches between my nose and the television screen. What to do? Just watch reruns of “Friends” and a couple of movies to pass the time (including “Jerry Maguire”). I knew that sleep was out of the question. But we made it and I would do it again. But next time from Newark even though my traffic concerns about JFK were unfounded.
The trip provided me with downtime from my busy life, time to spend with my husband, time to relax and enjoy the scenery, the people, the ship and the outdoors. The language and the Euros had me a bit flustered, but with patience we made it work.
I treated myself to a pair of slippers lined with cashmere, purchased in Positano. We did a lot of window shopping and admired all the mementos, tchotchkes, Murano glass etc. I did not want to stuff my suitcase with things that would make me question “What was I thinking?” when I arrived home. Mission accomplished.
Now that I have overcome my fear of overseas travel, I am ready to continue with future expeditions. I am filled with gratitude and joy that Don and I were able to experience a Mediterranean cruise together. Wishing you all a healthy, relaxing and happy end of summer. Welcome home to all you summer travelers. For those who opted for a staycation, there is no place like home.
By Eileen Bergman
Eileen Bergman is a professional organizer, a proud member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO). Eileen is listed in the resource directory for the Hoarding Disorder Resource and Training Group. Eileen may be reached at 973-303-3236 or [email protected].