Sunday, 24 May 2015

I've Learned A Few Things About Road Tripping

I've learned a few things on my recent road trips, things which I probably should have known already, or things with a probably new already which have crystalized in my mind, become more real on these last couple of trips.

First and foremost, I've learned that I can still do it, still get myself up, out, and about, still make the drive, still handle the day. There is no doubt in my mind that I am losing this ability, losing it quicker than I would liike, but for this moment, here and now, I can still look after myself on the road.

Second, I have learned that it's really not worth saving a few dollars to stay in a place unsuited to my needs. This falls under that category of hidden expenses of ALS, the hidden costs of traveling in a wheelchair. I need a decent hotel room, not just for the wheelchair amenities like a roll-in shower or bars beside the toiler, or, for that matter, a higher toilet suited for handicapped access. It's just as important psychologically that I have a decent place. The truth is that I will need help on occasion. Low budget motels cannot, do not, offer that kind of help. So I pay the price and get a hotel or motel that works, that has support staff, that offers me help when I need it.

Third, I've learned that traveling alone doesn't mean being lonely, although I get that way sometimes. Almost everywhere I go I meet people. Sure, I was like this before the wheelchair, before ALS. These days, however, I find more and more that people are willing to open up, willing to be friendly, willing to be helpful. In large measure, people are kind and good, something I have re-learned and confirmed on this trip.

Fourth, although probably more important than three, I've learned the importance of having my gear, things like my M-rail, my shower seat, a laundry basket, and so on. It's a lot more than a suitcase these days. I need these things, especially when I am staying in a location for more than one night. These tools make my life easier, they make it work. They extend my limited strength. I need them.

Finally, speaking of one night stands, I have learned that doing too many in a row is a bad thing. I need to rest every couple of days. So my standard now, and moving forward, is, and will be, two days of travel, one day of rest. This means I spend every third or fourth day doing nothing, an ideal scenario for road tripping, especially with ALS.

I've learned lots more too, things about myself, things about traveling with Katherine and those others who have taken the risk of a trip with me, to many things to list in a blog. Perhaps the best thing I have learned which is not listed here, is that I continue to learn. There will be other trips, other travels, other passages. I will learn from them too.

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