Happy Trails to You!

“How do you do it?” I asked my friend? “How the heck do you fly hither and yon with Frank (pseudonym being used here) just a year after he’d had his last stroke?”

On that note I began a conversation that led me to recognize Joe and I would, indeed, be able to fly down to Anna Maria Island in Florida this past February.

It had been more than a year since we’d been able to travel – well, excluding our wild ambulance rides from time to time – and, while I wanted to honor Joe’s vision of walking in the sand, I did not want to be delusional in thinking we could make his dream come to fruition.

My friend’s response was direct, “Make it as easy on yourself as possible; garner all the help necessary; take time for adequate planning and you’ll be just fine.”

And, so, I went back to the drawing board that held my to-do list of travel plans and filled in a few blanks.

First of all I realized it would be less of a strain on my back and psyche if I didn’t have to deal with checking and retrieving luggage at both ends of each flight. Therefore, a week prior to our departure, I schlepped three cardboard boxes of summer clothing to the local UPS store and had them ship it to our hotel. The hotel staff was then contacted and asked to expect the delivery prior to our arrival. No problem there as they were supremely kind (even put the boxes in our room when they arrived).

As for those pesky “carry on” items I could not do without, well, they were stuffed into the lightest backpack I owned and were, therefore, easy enough to deal with.

Next on the list was a call to a local limo service with the request of picking us up at home and delivering us to the airport. In this manner I avoided having to park my own car and take a van to the terminal on the day of our flight.

Well, now I was cranking and on a roll. Talking about roll: we needed a wheelchair for Joe once we arrived for our outbound flight and yet another for at the arrival gate. That was easy enough, for all it required was a call to the airline and they were happy to accommodate us.

Okay, we did need to get from the airport in Florida to our hotel, but that became quite possible once I put my organizational cap atop my head again. The rental car companies are all nestled at the Tampa Airport (our arrival spot) and, with the help of a kind wheelchair pusher we would be able to get to our vehicle.

Coming home was merely a reversal of our steps going.


But if one is not prepared, traveling is not easy, can become a burden and defeat the purpose of the vacation.

Since our trip to Florida we’ve gone to Portland, Oregon for an exhausting (isn’t all travel across time zones exhausting?) yet exhilarating family event.

And we’re now in Springfield, Illinois for our niece’s wedding.

It is all quite do-able, and worth the extra effort, if you are willing to put in the small amount of extra time on the logistical end.

I will tell you – although I suspect you have noticed – that these plans come at a cost, but one that is well worth the expense and can be covered in other areas of your trip.

UPS, for instance, was not much more of an expenditure than the fees the airlines charge for checking luggage.

There are also alternative manners of transportation less pricey than hiring a limo: You might call a ride-share program. Or perhaps buy a good friend a bottle of wine as a thank you gift for taking you to the airport. Or spring for the limo but have one less restaurant meal during the vacation).

Planning for a trip is never a piece of cake; there are always lists and tasks to be created and accomplished. Traveling as a caregiver is no different. Even a “simple” road trip can become more complicated to arrange.

But the gratification of having been able to pull it off; of getting away to some place new and relaxing; to know that you are not homebound is worth the extra effort.

Joe and I have now flown twice with a third flight a few days away and each time, as he gets stronger and I become more adept at putting these trips together, I am thankful for my friend’s wise words.

She encouraged me to go for it, to not become blocked by the logistics of travel, to make it as easy as possible and, with that, she reopened the doors of vacations once again.

And now, I hope that her words, through me, will aid you in the same way.

Happy trails to you!







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