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Vacation

 

Possibly as an escape, I’ve noticed myself imagining trips around the world, like, visiting my high school friend in Israel, or wandering through the Luxembourg gardens in Paris, or trying out my tiny cache of Spanish in Mexico or Barcelona. I want to go back to Prince Edward Island, where we went camping when I was three and four years old, to see it again in person. Then to Montreal, to see what French bagels taste like, or what Yiddish flavored French sounds like. I want to go on a cruise to Alaska, or Newfoundland. I want to see more of the world, but not the hot spots. I can’t deal with the hot spots. I’d have to go to Israel in the winter in order to bear it. I’d like to go on the Orient Express, or something like it, and write mysteries as I go. I want to go to New Zealand and see all of the places Mom took pictures of on her trip ten years ago.

But I worry. Vacations have never quite gone the way I hoped, if only because I bring myself with me. I don’t get a vacation from self-loathing, or exhaustion, or physical pain. I want to be someone who can walk all day through the streets of Paris, or Montreal, or Venice (unless Venice is all canals at this point), but I know I can’t do that. I’d wipe out in the first hour and need to lie down and wrap myself in heating pads just to make it to day two.

And Cricket is a real obstacle. I’m not sure there’s any place Cricket would be willing to stay, without her humans, for more than two minutes. We used to go for weekend trips upstate, or to DC, and bring Cricket (and Butterfly) along, but Cricket is a lot of work on a trip, and doesn’t do much to ingratiate herself to outsiders. She’s a special horror in elevators.

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Miss Butterfly, with her roll of paper towels, on a road trip.

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Miss Cricket, helping Grandma drive.

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“Get me out of this elevator, right now!”

The other option is to go by myself and leave Cricket with her grandma at home, but that sounds awful to me. I had this idea for a trip across Europe, to follow in my mom’s footsteps from her solo trip when she was eighteen years old, and stayed in youth hostels, and went to acting camp in the south of France, and visited the Aran Islands, because they were the star of her favorite play. But I wouldn’t want to take that trip without her there to tell me what happened where and how things have changed since then.

And then there’s the logistics, like updating my passport, figuring out maps in strange cities, and getting any kind of clue about the exchange rate between dollars and euros. And would my cell phone even work? And, really, who could afford such a trip?

There’s one other thing that gives me pause.      My rabbi has a habit of saying that one of the few things he asks of his daughters is that they keep their passports up to date, just in case. And he doesn’t mean just in case they take a family trip to Greece. He means, just in case America spits us out as the strangers we are, and we have to be ready to run. This is my country. This is where I was born and where my parents, and three of my four grandparents, were born. This is my context. Long Island, New York, USA. It’s hard to see a vacation out of this country as a good thing, when in the back of my mind I’m afraid that I won’t be allowed back in, or won’t want to return, which would be even worse.

So, for now, I’m just going to live in my imagination, and practice my languages, and wonder what the trip would be like. Cricket likes this idea much better, too.

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Much, much better.

 

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

81 responses »

  1. I just got back from a short business trip and my husband took care of the dogs while I was gone. But my old dog (15) couldn’t believe I would leave him and slept with one eye on the door all night, waiting for me to come home rather than sleep on our bed. He threw up and wouldn’t eat. Geez. I felt so bad. I can see the dilemma you have quite clearly. Staying home with the dog love sounds perfect!

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  2. I grew up traveling, as both my parents come from other countries. I recently tweeted the Mark Twain quote, incidentally: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Not that I think you need that prescription, but just that it says something for the activity itself. In case you change your mind, I recently saw this article which tempted me some:https://www.buzzfeed.com/anniedaly/peace-out-america

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  3. There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…….

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  4. I have not been to many places, a few where I needed a passport and believe me, I wanted to kiss the American soil as soon as I set foot on it. Home is the best place.

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  5. One of the things I love about travel is that what I consider my “baggage” sometimes comes across as “eccentric” or even “interesting” in foreign countries. The fact that I, as a 58 year old woman, traveled alone to Poland, stayed with a host family and attended immersion Polish language classes made me a topic of discussion. Stereotypes were dashed! If you have the desire–and the desire does not go away or diminish–please find a way to fulfill your dream. There may be difficulties and disappointments, but also the possibility of incredible joys and blessings.

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  6. I would like to offer you a vacation to South Carolina to stay with us, but alas, Charly is the most inhospitable little dog ever. For some reason she seems to have a condition we call Spoilitis at our house – her peeps are notoriously lax in setting boundaries for her. Sigh.
    Other than that and the 100 degree heat, we could show you all a real good time!
    So far, no passports required, though. Double sigh.

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  7. Hi Rachel! It’s been awhile since we’ve followed ea other, but I have new webpage up & running now. Anyway, you need to go. I just got back from hiking trek in Spain; it was exhilarating! Do yourself a favor – quit worrying so much, get out of your way. Life’s too short. Jump in! The water’s fine. All the best, ok?

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  8. Wish you could see your friend in Israel. Traveling used to be so much fun before TSA.

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  9. We are avid travellers, but I certainly understand when people can’t or don’t feel up to hitting the road. It’s not for everyone. I think your idea to watch plenty of foreign films is a great option.

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  10. There are so many great things to see here in our own country that I find it unnecessary to travel abroad. Just in the past three years, I experienced Mount Rushmore, the Smithsonian, the Grand Ole Opry and the Statue of Liberty, to name a few. See the USA! It would be a tragedy to deny yourself that opportunity because of a pet, however loved.

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  11. we frequently “bribe/ coerce” one of our sons to stop by to feed, walk, play with Dexter and Comet when we are away for a day or two. The dogs are pretty easy going.

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  12. I think you’re right; it would be very difficult traveling with Cricket abroad.. But as other readers have commented, you live in a very big country, with many different landscapes, conditions, and people living in different states. If you could leave her with Grandma, that might be a solution. But how would you feel without her? That in itself might be a problem. As for a place to stay, you might find bed and breakfast places that would accept dogs. On the whole, I think traveling gets harder as we grow older. When I was in my twenties I traveled far, and met a lot of different people; saw the sights. But now I try to find beautiful and interesting places much closer to home.

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  13. I couldn’t leave our Chicki behind. She would be frightened. But she doesn’t travel well, either, except on visits to the local park. So, no holidays for me – but do I really care? 🙂
    More to the point, do you?

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  14. Sometimes we can but dream

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  15. If I lived in NY state I may be happy not to leave it though 🙂

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  16. Since we got Ollie, we haven’t been abroad, as we don’t want to distress him by leaving him with strangers. But I think you should leave Cricket with your Mum, and travel somewhere. It’s a long life to live with any regrets, and you will never know if you can cope until you try. Your phone will work too, you just connect to the local network when you arrive, and the phone does that automatically.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  17. Yes, keep your passport up to date: good advice! Kemo Sabe does a lot of trips on her own, so we can stay here and be looked after properly – that’s the price she pays! Pip and the boys

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  18. I’ve taken to touring places via YouTube.com. I can be home with the doggies and still go lots of interesting places without worrying about mobility.
    Should you ever travel to the SF Bay Area, you and Cricket are welcome in my guest room.

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  19. My dear wife Karen and I got Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle conditioned for the six-hour drive in the SUV from Syracuse to Cape Cod (and back) for our week’s vacation in the dog-friendly Happy Cottage we were able to rent for many years in a row. The first trip, we gave her a wee bit of Benadryl, and she slept. The subsequent years, she didn’t need that, even, and looked forward to the ride. As long as we took several breaks at Thruway rest stops for walks and relief, we all were fine, to and coming home. Our cherished rescue mutt knew where we were going as soon as we headed east on the Thruway, Rachel! Unfortunately, our friends who owned the cottage sold it, so we must look for another dog-friendly place on the Cape to rent …
    The point is, there are driving-accessible spots for you and Cricket to enjoy together if you wish.

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  20. We too are constrained from traveling even over nighters because of the girls. But it’s mostly me who can’t bare to be away from them. Plus I hate to travel so it kind of works out. 🙃. I hope you find a way to follow your dreams and see some of the places yiu mention.

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  21. Travel is something I took for granted growing up in the military. More often it was travel to relocate and not much vacation time. As our children got older my husband and I took our long desired dream vacations – coming and going as we please. We often forget (not intentionally – I hope we never forget) the refugees that had been forceable removed in the 1930’s and 40’s when the Jewish people were forced to leave Germany or today the ones that are leaving oppression, poverty and again persecution in the Middle East and beyond. Keeping passports up to date is always in anticipation that we may travel abroad – but in most people memories it is a safety net to escape persecution. My prayer is for you to be able to follow your dream of travel without that fear that your rabbi and others still feel today. The one post said about driving to destinations – there still plenty to see in this great country. Lots of open roads until that time comes for you to fly the open skies into your dream vacations! 🙂

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  22. That bit about being ready to run rings true for folks who aren’t Jewish and don’t look different from whatever an American is ‘supposed’ to look like (which I’d love to see a picture of. So many mixtures in the pot that it boggles the mind). I’m Mormon and I’ve had the same thoughts and keep my passport available and updated against the day when the madman at the helm finally loses his sense altogether and bans religion or some idiocy like that. And your fantasy trips around the world? Work for me too as I hate leaving my Hunydog behind. But when she’s passed on, I might try a cruise or something small like that. I hate to travel too, for many of the same reasons you listed, but damn. I’d like to see something MORE of the world before I fall off my perch.

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  23. Pets can make it hard to get away unless you have a trusted person to keep them, who you know they will do well with. And then there are the other issues. I understand your deep-seated concern about exile. I’ve read the Old Testament as well as American History. Bless you.

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  24. Travel is very good and very fun. Hey, there are loads of beautiful and interesting places in driving distance, or train distance – where you could take your dog with you too – in New York State, the Keystone State, not to mention Connecticut and Jersey. OK, I won’t mention Jersey.

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  25. It does get more complicated to travel as time goes on. I’m sure Cricket would be a better traveller than any of my cats. So these days I curl up with a mystery set someplace I’d like to go and travel vicariously. One advantage is with books I can even time travel. It’s not quite the same as a real vacation, but it’s easier on the pocketbook or the nerves than a vacation gone wrong, like those people whose cruise ships break down.

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  26. Finding the perfect person with whom to leave your dog makes getting away much easier though absence does not always seem to make the heart grow fonder!

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  27. Oh bless. We’d have her for you.
    We took Maggie with us everywhere, so we didn’t have a holiday unless she could come too.
    Unlike Barney, we didn’t have anyone stay and look after her in the house should we go away (my Mum so loved to Puppy sit!). Luckily when we needed someone to help us, MSM stepped in and looked after her when we had our silver anniversary/my 60th birthday night in a hotel, and also when we took the boat up for brokerage.

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  28. It’s hard to go on vacation when you’re worried about your pets, especially if they are older, have separation anxiety, or have a health problem. One of my two is a real handful and I totally understand the dilemma!

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  29. We stay close to home- and hour or a bit more and there are places to visit. No planes!

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  30. When the desire gets strong enough you’ll find a way to do it, I’m sure. We have just started looking after Mia and Merl, while their owners are on holiday. I think the dogs love it, it’s like a holiday for them too, as we all go out on day trips together and they get lots and lots of walks and adventures.

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  31. You could try an overnight visit to a dog-friendly cabin in the country somewhere nearby just as a chance to get away from everyday life.

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  32. Well, you mentioned a cruise to Alaska . . . that would help take care of a lot of issues that you stated in this post.

    Story time:

    My husband and I were on a cruise. We were on an excursion where we sat at a restaurant to eat lunch after visiting the FABULOUS Temple of Poseidon which is at Cape Sounion, about 45 miles south of Athens – so we are in the Mediterranean. We are lunching with this very young couple – or so they seem to me. During the meal the woman hardly speaks at all. The husband does most of the talking and answering of questions. I ask if this is their first cruise and was told they had been on 26 cruises. Honestly they do not look old enough to have done that! Since they have been on so many cruises all over the world and we are in the Mediterranean, I ask them what their favorite cruise was. Without hesitation and both at the same time they say, “Alaska!”

    It is difficult to travel and leave the pets at home. It is so hard because even when you know they are being well taken care of they are missed!

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    • I wonder if there are cruises that let you bring your dog…

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      • I don’t think so, but . . . . I don’t see that to far off. I can see there being a cruise-line that might have a special cruise where people can bring their dogs and then . . . who knows where it will go from there. Alaskan cruises are that long though, so you and Cricket could do it. It might seem like a long time (seven/eight days), but once it is over there will be a new appreciation for each other!

      • Service dogs are allowed, but not pets.

  33. First, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t be allowed to come home. Second, I applaud you for putting Miss Cricket first – I could never have gone away had I had not known that my Max had a place to stay where he was totally at home. My best friend (and this is one of many reasons why she’s my best friend) was his second mom, and had something happened to me, she would have taken him in a heartbeat – I left her to him in my will. And now she will be designated as Maverick’s guardian should anything happen to me.

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  34. Your rabbi’s advice is frightening, not to be able to count on being welcome in your own country. Horrible and very saddening. I am sorry. The current political situation gets more frightening and unbelievable every day.

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  35. Our four cats pretty much keep us home. So far what works is if one of us, husband stays home or vice versa. One of our cats often sits on the window sill in our kitchen.Sometimes when I leave to just to go to our local grocery store, she stares at me with her big eyes and I feel horrid. Then I am very protective of her, since two other cats are bullies and one seems to be getting worse with age. Husband does not always notice the little details. But like you I dream of travel, but more so in the states. I think the only way for us to do so, would be to have an rv, a smaller one and take them all with us, or have someone stay in our home.. Dilemmas… We have been to a few B&B’s. I like that suggestion for you. Do a search on dog friendly ones and you could all go together..To at least give it a try..

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  36. Thank you for the read. Thank you.

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  37. Pingback: Vacation | Escape from Pa

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