Wednesday, August 29, 2007

South Africa and the Importance of "Thinking Big"

When I returned from my last extensive trip (Ireland this past spring), I thought that my travel days were over. After nine trips with Grand Circle Travel and more with other travel companies, plus many earlier trips by motorcycle with my late husband, I was content to let my passport expire and retreat (at least figuratively) to my recliner. Why? My arthritic knees were a big problem on that trip, and I was considering the indignities of relying on wheelchairs at airports and planning knee replacement surgery.

Since then, my attitude has changed considerably. I have remembered the importance of having goals and future plans, in my case usually involving travel. That's been my pattern for years: always thinking about or preparing for my next trip. Should I allow age and arthritis to slow me down right now, or can I keep going?

I'd completed my quest to visit all seven continents by 2005, and I've visited most of the countries and cities and natural and man-made wonders I've always wanted to see. I eventually realized that there was one country left on my list: South Africa. Yes, I've visited the African continent, including Morocco and Egypt. Still, there's something fascinating about the political and social struggles, the animals and the scenery, of South Africa that has intrigued me.

Fortunately, my knees improved enough so that I could begin walking, and on Sunday, during a long lakefront walk, I began to think about travel again. Could I do it? That's when I really began "thinking big." Such a trip to the other side of the world would take nearly twenty-four hours (including a plane transfer). It would be very expensive. And I realized that I would have to travel business class, since many of my knee problems seem to stem from hours of inactivity in a cramped economy class seat. Have you priced business class travel lately? Wow!

Yesterday, I made a reservation for a tenth Grand Circle trip: "Highlights of South Africa," beginning next April. Am I wealthy? No. Insane? Possibly, but as I keep telling my fellow senior citizens, don't give up too easily. I know the trip will be difficult, and a lot of problems can intervene between now and April. Still, making happy plans for the future is very important. Stay tuned, and wish me well! If I make it, I'll have a lot to write about next year.

Copyright 2007 by Marlys Marshall Styne
Photo from the Grand Circle Travel web site, http://www.gct.com/

7 comments:

Joie said...

Hi there!

Bumped with your blog through BlogHer. At your age now, you are such an inspiration to the youngs today! Hope you could also join and be an inspiration to a community of women here:

http://forums.her-desk.com

You can share your thoughts, talk about sex, love, relationship and anything under the sun! And most especially, make friends to all women around the world.

See you there. :)

kokopelliwoman said...

Hello, Marlys,

Ran across your blog in Technorati, and I'm coming back for more. Lovely writing. My mom lived in Chicago for 35 years, Assoc. Ed. of ALA Booklist. She also had a radio show interviewing authors called "Dorothy Riesen at Large."

Regards,
Claudia

seniorwriter said...

Thank you so much, Claudia! Your mother sounds like a very interesting and accomplished woman. Do come back, and please leave more comments! I suppose I'd write even if no one at all read my writing, but I'm happy to have an audience, small though it may be.

Barbara said...

Good luck in realizing this goal as you have so many others! I only wish I could say I'd been to nearly all the countries and cities and natural wonders I'd like to see in my lifetime. But then, I'm only 61. Perhaps thinking big and setting goals is the ticket to accomplishment. Thanks for sharing your dream.

seniorwriter said...

Absolutely! You're still young enough, Barbara, to accomplish whatever you want to. Always have big dreams, whatever they may be.

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Marlys! When I'm older I hope to think of you and go out into the world with anticipation and enthusiasm.

- Josh

seniorwriter said...

Thanks for the comment, Josh. I've discovered that there's no other way to operate. I'm not ready to lie down and wait to die!