I don’t do holidays. We never could afford them when I was a kid, and so you don’t miss what you haven’t had. But I’m 50 next year (fingers crossed!), and I’ve decided to mark the occasion. I’m having a “party” (on my own terms) at the time of my birthday. I normally do parties as often as I do holidays! But I’ve hired a hall and some caterers for afternoon tea. And a jazz trio that I sing with from time to time, and I’ve invited some other musicians I know to come and sit in with us, and then we will subject our guests to our music making while they eat sandwiches and cakes!
But I’ve also (almost) decided to go away. I don’t dislike flying, but I hate the airport and all of that waiting around. So, I’m planning on Paris so I can use the Eurostar. Last time I went abroad was a research trip in 2012 to Berlin. I’m going alone - that way, I can go along at my own pace, and if I want to stay in bed on one day all day to rest up, it doesn’t matter or bother anyone else. Again, it has to be on my own terms.
I was wondering if you folks had coping mechanisms when you go abroad, and any advice you could give for my lovely bipolar/arthrtiis/IBS combo? I was going to hire a scooter, but I actually think now it’s more likely to be a hindrance than a help, and probably more stress than just getting taxis everywhere. They don’t help me walk around The Louvre, of course, but that’s the sort of thing I need to work around on the day, I guess. Anyone with any advice on holidaying?
You’ve already put it together well. A scooter in an unfamiliar place would be a lot of stress as you won’t know access points etc. I walk with a hiking pole - it gives me confidence if nothing else and does help. Plus I take taxis everywhere, saves on too much walking. My tips are make sure the bed is comfortable and you have a walkin shower in your room, room service is another plus. It sounds like you going have a wonderful 50th year too.
I met a man in the Vancouver airport yesterday who was waiting for his flight to head back to the UK. We had a bit of a visit and I asked him a few questions about the high cost of his experience on Canada’s West coast. He said that for him a leisure sightseeing trip was all about getting as many experiences as possible. Once on the trip, he refuses to penny pinch, spends as he wants to make the time memorable (within reason) and concerns himself with the costs when he gets home. I think that is good advice. My wife and I have made the mistake at times of being so trip frugal that we missed some wonderful outings. It sounds like this might be a vacation of a lifetime for you, I hope your health is well enough to enjoy each moment AND…never make the bed. When we travelled as a family, my mom insisted on making the hotel room bed every morning just like at home. Dad would ask her to stop but she would reply, “What kind of people will they think we are if I don’t make the bed?”
I rarely make the bed anyway - the wonders of living alone. I’m certainly not planning to penny pinch. I’m quite lucky at the moment that my PIP was increased by £45 a week a month or two ago…and a year’s back pay! So I used the back pay to get rid of all debts on credit cards etc, and to pay for the party. While £45 a week isn’t going to pay for a trip to France, I’m also now not paying up a credit card (which wasn’t by any means out of control, but my bipolar likes to pay off anything I owe, and so I was paying £200-300 a month on what was only a debt of £1000 or so. If I put that money with the PIP increase, that gives me around £400 a month extra money, which certainly helps.
Even when I go to London for the Proms once a year, I go everywhere by taxi once I get off the train. It’s too much hassle otherwise.
Thanks, Poo, for confirming what I thought about the scooter. It seemed like a good idea at first, but now not so much. I notice some museums in France hire out wheelchairs for the visit - but that’s not much good when you’re going it alone!
Anyway, just renewed my passport today, and so it looks like all systems are go!
Some places might hire out scooters too. They do here in the UK so it’s worth investigating that. The wheelchair hire might include scooters too. A self propelled wheelchair is easy to manage and quite a lot of fun too. I’ve used one in the past when required. Had lots of giggles in the supermarket with one shocking people to stand up to reach higher shelves. Still makes me smile to remember that.
Sadly I have arthritis in my hands too, and so propelling myself in a wheelchair probably isn’t an option.
I have decided (I think) to go one of the apartment hotels instead of a normal room. That way I can monitor my food a bit better, especially if the IBS flares up while I’m there. I can live on chicken and potatoes for the week if I need to!
Lots of prep is essential. I see that the Louvre, for example, lends out folding chairs and rubber tipped walking sticks free of charge (metal tipped ones aren’t allowed in there). I know the folding chair, at least, would increase my enjoyment of the Louvre by at least 100%. A little bit of research for everywhere you fancy going might make it the holiday of a lifetime, and you deserve it!
You have a great time! Rest breaks. And hydrate.