Lost in my own back yard

dragon mural

Hing Hay Park

A month ago, a friend of mine who is an experienced traveler, sounded disappointed when I told her my husband and I had turned to a travel agent to help us plan a trip to Europe.  Recently, however, she changed her tune when she realized that things can go wrong when I’m traveling even a few miles from home.

Here’s what happened just last week. She’s a freelance writer who had an assignment to describe a walking tour in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District. I’d accompany her. She could take notes and photos and I could shop. We set a date to take the bus to Seattle together.

china gateShe would hop on the bus near her house and I would climb aboard the same vehicle at a Park & Ride. I did board the bus, despite the fact that a closed road in my neighborhood led to a long detour to reach the Park & Ride. When I got there the bus driver refused to let me on because he had already pulled away from the stop. I pleaded and he gave in.

Hing Hay ParkI found a seat on the bus, easy to do since there were only about six passengers aboard.  None was my friend.  I texted her. “I’m on the bus. Where are you?” I added a lengthy description of where we could meet in Seattle.  Since I’m not a proficient texter –my thumb hits the wrong letter or number as often as it lands on the right one — five minutes passed before I looked up. Finally I pushed “send” and raised my head.

No. This can’t be, I said to myself. We’re traveling away from Seattle.  The number on the bus is right, but it’s going the wrong direction. I pulled the cord for the next stop and slunk out the back door so the driver who had broken a rule for me wouldn’t notice that I was not only the last one on his bus but the first off.

Danny Woo International District Community Gardens

Danny Woo International District Community Gardens

The story had a mostly happy ending.  Eventually I caught a bus to Seattle and my friend and I met. We learned a little history of the area, saw several new sights, including the community garden pictured to the right, and worked off a few calories climbing hills. Even better, she agreed that I had made a sound decision in seeking help from a travel agent.  My only regret was that she had strict instructions from her editor not to write about restaurants or shopping.

About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness. Also, I'm on the third draft of my second novel since retirement.
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