why we don’t travel, love ’em

I’d better explain this title right up front. There is, and probably never will be, any travelling round the world not while we have the dogs but you’ve got to admit it’s an eye-catching title. The idea resurfaced this time (for it is one I’ve speculated about many times) as a result of another body pain. This is a new pain and I thought I’d got most of them covered, and it made its appearance about 4 o’clock on last Thursday morning. It seems, to be accurate, to be the same pain i.e. that sharp, stabbing, intermittent, painful pain that I get periodically in my feet (either foot, different locations) but in a different place, in this case, my knee. I’m surprised, the doctor said it was gout and you could get it anywhere, in your ear for instance, he said. OK but I’m still surprised that it has turned up in my knee.

However that’s not the point, the point is I couldn’t get back to sleep so decided to get out of bed and turn on my computer hoping to be distracted. The pain is never so bad when you’re not in bed trying to sleep. And, as they say, every cloud etc and in this case, and I don’t quite know how I got there, but I found myself googling ‘travelling with dogs’. One of the first sites I found was entitled, How one woman is travelling the world with her dog in a converted van. I was struck by the title, mistakenly as it turned out but I didn’t know that until I got to the site. I just thought – one woman, check, got one of those; dog, got two of those but who’s counting except customs officers of course, check; converted van, check, well the beginnings of one; world, yep, got one of those. This should be an excellent site for me to be distracted by.

It was, but not for the reason I imagined. First, the first photo on the site was of a woman with a cat. Hmm, something wrong there. Second photo, a different woman (first one was black, this one was white) with a dog. Better, but it did say one woman and that’s two so far. Third, and most important, she was not actually travelling the world in a van (there was a van) but rather Europe and that’s quite a different kettle of fish. So this site wasn’t as helpful as it first appeared. But I did spend some more time looking at other linked sites with the broad connection of travelling with pets.

One site had some helpful advice – get your dog/s used to the cage it will travel in. I thought you had to pop them in an airline cage when you got to the airport. If this is not so then good. Second, fill the cage with some of your dirty underwear. I definitely get the logic of this, our dogs seem to like lying on our clothes although not sure about the underwear bit I can imagine explaining to the airline people, yes, it does whiff a bit, no that’s not the dogs, that’s my underpants. I feel that might be embarrassing. But the reasoning is sound.

It was a bit downhill after this. As we’d already found out flying your pet/s costs much more than flying oneself. As one site said you can fly from New York to Paris (it was an American site) for $600 but they don’t take dogs. The airline that does charges $1,200 and that doesn’t include the dog fare and we’ve got two of them, so no, not looking good. And then there’s all the health checks and the paperwork that goes with them. And not to mention, except I have, the quarantine which varies from country to country and ranges from 6 months separation to, sure bring ‘em in, we haven’t one of those, oh two of them, in a long time. Welcome to Guatemala and that will be $1,000 – cash – each, paid to me.

There were a few people on these travelling with pets’ sites that advocated not taking your pet/s but rather leaving them behind in safe hands – parents if you’ve got them and they like your pet/s. That’s not going to work for us on account of all parents being well and truly deceased. The mere thought of leaving our dogs behind sets me trembling. Which is why I have very mixed feelings about our weekend (coming up in a few days) away in London. My excuse is we’re going to be celebrating my 70th birthday and London and dogs don’t seem to go well together. We’re leaving them with friends who have a farm. They’ve been before and enjoyed it as far as we can tell. But herein lies the problem, we’re afraid they’ll enjoy it too much and not want to come back. And this is only two nights away, I can’t imagine any longer than this. Like for example, going to see our son in Australia, you couldn’t do that in a weekend, could you?

All I can say, by way of advice, to those not yet or soon to be retired, is make sure you do your travelling before your retire or don’t do what I did as soon as we retired (as Mrs Summerhouse frequently reminds me) and go out for a loaf of bread or something and come back with a dog or two dogs in my case. I am so pleased we did our world travel in our younger days. I still get antsy about travel, as you will know if you’ve been reading these blogs a while, but just think how much worse I would feel if we, like one set of retired friends, pinned all their hopes on travelling when retired and now find themselves unable to do what they had planned.

So to end this particular ramble, this is my silver lining of having developed a new location for my gout or whatever it is. Being unable to sleep has opened up a whole new world. Unfortunately, it’s true, it’s one we can’t access because of our lovely dogs but nobody said retirement was going to be without its challenges. Certainly not me.

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