Trip planning for masochists

There are masochists, and then there are masochists.

Was that not clear? Sorry. I’m a bit tired.

What I’m trying to say is that there are masochists in a sexy, leather-coated, “fun if you like that sort of thing” way, and then there are masochists like me.

Does my face look big in this?

We alternative masochists don’t need velvet handcuffs, Ralph Lauren riding crops, domino masks, and whatever else it is that sexy masochists wield, ply, or attire themselves in. We’re too busy making our lives painful in non-sexy ways.

Let’s say, for example, that you’ve decided to bugger off to Britain for a month. (If you’re already in Britain, use your imagination.) And let’s stipulate that, for the nonce, you’re living alone, possibly because you insist on using terms like “for the nonce.” This means you have to find people to weed the cat, water the bills, and pay the garden.

Flowers by Mackintosh

That didn’t sound right? Never mind, let’s press on, and conjecture that, in addition to going to England to chill with your mates, you decide to Explore Bonnie Scotland via a complicated route involving a rental car, multiple B&Bs, several Mackintosh-related homes, and fairies.

Did I say fairies? I think I meant ferries. Though fairies would perhaps be cheaper.

Not retired yet

Meanwhile, you’re working pretty much full time, although people younger than you, some of them your friends, are already retired and spend their days “reading” and “gardening” and “lying around,” but you’re not bitter about that, oh no. Because it sounds appealing, and you’re an alternative masochist.

So you book the B&Bs, the rental car, the ferries. You review your wardrobe – did I mention that you’re a minimalist when it comes to clothes? – and make a list of things you need to buy. Namely, clothes. You buy the clothes. Crikey, clothes cost even more than they did two years ago! What’s up with that? The jeans, of course, are too long, so you track down a seamstress and pay her more than the jeans are worth to hem them.

Outstanding in their field

On your way back to your desk, you pick up a guidebook and start to get excited about the Standing Stones of Callanish and the Ring of Brodgar. Speaking of rings, are we bringing any jewelry on this trip? Not that we have “jewelry,” exactly, but somewhere, isn’t there a box with some brooches in it or something?

Back online, you read several articles in which bright young things describe how they traveled around Inner and Outer Mongolia for 8 weeks with just a small carry-on. Easy-peasy! Just find a clever raincoat that doubles as a bathing suit, roll your clothes into tubes, and use baking soda for toothpaste.

You picture yourself swinging onto the train to Glasgow with just a small carry-on and a smile caked with baking soda. But that wouldn’t hurt, so you find the big black expandable suitcase that your friend Jenny calls “the Behemoth” and start chucking heavy stuff into it.

With your other two hands, you continue to document network architecture, answer Instant Messages from colleagues (“how long are you going for?”), upload files to DocuShare, etc.

More challenges, please

Damn! It’s still too easy. At the end of the day, you have time to cook dinner and eat it while watching a couple of episodes of Frasier.

Future building site
A case to be made here for bookcases

Survey the living room. It’s attractive, but wouldn’t it look nicer if it had a wall-to-wall mantelpiece and built-in bookcases flanking the fireplace? And wouldn’t it be convenient if that work got done while you were gone? No disruption to your busy home-office/Twitter/blogging routine, no breathing paint fumes, etc.

And that’s how you end up, three days before you leave for a month abroad, packing not just a suitcase but your entire living room.

Well, this has been fun, although I’ve compensated for that by sitting on one foot until the circulation’s cut off. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to find more boxes and bubble wrap.


If you follow me here and/or on Twitter, you’ll know that I’m not an up-to-date sort of person who tweets from her iPhone (haven’t got one) and blogs from her iPad (if that’s what people do with iPads). And some of the friends I’ll be staying with in England are even more primitive than I and lack – gasp! – Internet access. How do they live.

But I’ll blog and tweet as often as I can, and I won’t forget any of you as I make my way – trying to enjoy myself as little as possible – around two of the world’s most beautiful countries. Cheers! (she said unhappily).

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3 thoughts on “Trip planning for masochists

  1. Hey There!
    Boy, did this make me laugh. Been there, done that. Still there, still doing it. It’s always a challenge, isn’t it. But we do it over and over because it eventually gets us back to the UK.
    When are you going? And whereabouts are you going? I leave for my trip 19 Aug. and will be there for about two weeks. Champing at the bit!!!!

  2. You & I are both English at heart. Why else would we leave sunny California? Thanks for your comment. I hope you have a wonderful time on your trip.

  3. Hi, Nancy! Love your blog! Am passing the URL on to my Anglophile wife. I’ve tried to email you about a job possibility, but no response. Will you write me with your current email address? Love, Margot

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