Aggravations occur as soon as you start making plans.
Ihad plans for this summer. A trip to Europe to visit my family was one of them. I have brothers and sisters and scores of nieces, nephews and cousins in Switzerland and I haven’t seen most of them in years. Now that I’m retired I figured I could spend some time there with my loved ones.
My plans were postponed due to family illness. In addition to that, the cost of fuel increased so much that the price of a return ticket to Zurich reached astronomic proportions, at least for my budget. I will have to resign myself to staying home and making do with phone calls, letters and e-mails.
This made me think of the subject of travel. Many people start vacationing when July and August come around. It’s holiday time for schoolchildren and parents sometimes take the opportunity to show them other parts of the world and enjoy a holiday as a family.
However, it’s not all peaches and cream. Aggravations occur as soon as you start making plans. Finding the right place at a price you can afford takes a bit of research. Then you have to create a consensus between family members. Once you are all agreed you are ready to take the next step.
The next step these days usually involves getting passports for everybody. You can have a wonderful holiday staying right here in Canada, which would not necessitate the purchase of a passport, but it’s wise to get one anyway as it is the best way to prove your identity while travelling. If you leave the country, it becomes a must. Filling out the four pages of paperwork needed to get a passport is intensive labour. After you’re finally done with that, you need to find some official person to attest to your identity. With all those safeguards in place, how is it possible that criminals seem to have no problem getting their hands on fake passports?
The fun really begins when you go to have your picture taken. It’s not as if you would be allowed to present your best facial side to the world. You are required to stare straight into the camera, and without smiling, please! And remove your glasses, please! Those rules create some very interesting results.
Finally, you have all your ducks in a row. Reservations have been made and been confirmed, bags have been packed – with howls of despair from your teenage daughter, “But I can’t survive with only one bag!” – and you are standing in line
at the departure gate, tickets in hand. The ordeal isn’t over yet, though. You still have to go through the scanner, and it’s almost guaranteed to go off for at least one, if not all the members in your group. You start looking for stray pieces of metal on your person, removing some innocent items. You are lucky if you get through without disrobing. Make sure you don’t wear a bra with metal underwire – it might put the guards on terrorist alert!
Travelling creates its own sort of headaches, but they all fade when you get to the destination and start your holiday with the family. The time away from everyday routines can be worth everything it takes to get there.
– Joyce Slobogian writes from Brandon, Manitoba and is the
author of To Die For, available at Pennywise Books and
Candlewood Books in Brandon.