It’s a contradiction in terms that I feel most at home when I’m far away from it.
Home reminds me there’s work. Home reminds me there are chores to be done. Home reminds me that I really want to throw lots of stuff out (and then I realise that 90% of our stuff doesnt belong to me!) and that no matter how I want things organised the other half wants things done her way (that would be the messy, spontaneous, chaotic, whoops where did I put that ?way).
It was once said to me that I only really come alive when the prospect of travelling arises.
That’s probably true.
It’s one of the few times that the decision is left entirely up to me (with a bit of advice which can be ignored) and it really brings out one of the Autistic strengths (or at least one of mine), the joy of organising.
There’s the planning. Where have we been ?. Where shall we go ?. Budget ?. Likely weather ?.
And the organising. Cattery. Driving time to airport. Airport hotel. Airport car parking. Seats on aircraft. Money. Visas.
It wraps me up in a warm bundle of gooey cotton wool which smells of travel and I start to feel at home from the moment I book.
Of course travel is not for everyone. It brings with it many Autistic sensory issues. Crowds. Noise. Chaos. Unpredictability. Social interaction.
So I get into “The Zone”.
Let’s call it “The Travel Bubble”.
Comfort is absolutely vital to me when I’m travelling. I need to be both physically and mentally comfortable.
So, through careful preparation and a lot of reading (Guide books, travel blogs, travel websites) I first satisfy myself that there are things I want to see. That there’s going to be enough to occupy me. I want some free time to catch my breath but no so much that I’m lost without a routine.
I want decent accommodation. I don’t need five star luxury as that tends to wash over me but I want a spacious room and the prospect of food I will recognise. I have quite a limited diet and although I adore India I am not, actually, tolerant of curry so the availability of comfort foods such as toast or omelettes is important. I’ve yet to find a place that couldn’t rustle up either and there’s usually plenty of fruit to nibble on.
I don’t like being in one place. I’ve done two beach holidays. Neither were successful. I can tolerate a beach and admire the beauty of a beach but sitting on one for days on end I find utterly exhausting.
So I need to move around. If I’m going for 15 nights then it’s not unusual for me to stay in 10-11 different hotels. Wow, that’s a lot of changes I hear you say. You’re right, it is, but I’m in the bubble. Embrace the bubble. If you want to see a lot of different things then you need to move about and with a timetable to hand that I understand and can follow, I can get myself prepared.
I don’t pack too heavily. I wear what I’m comfortable wearing. Usually bright stuff. But then I wear that at home as well. I like to keep cool. T-shirts, shorts, comfy closed toe sandals (I’m awful for stubbing my toes), trousers to fly in and a spare pair in case of emergency. And I take old stuff I can leave in hotel rooms as gifts or because I have newer stuff at home. I’ve often returned with a lighter case.
I like to diarise my travels. Where we stayed, what we saw, what we ate, impressions of the journeys between hotels, impressions of our fellow travellers. I like to extend the bubble by writing up my journal when I come back. I like to list things, another Autistic trait.
Travel brings delays. It brings inconvenience. But then I have those here. Roadworks are to blame!.
I’m at home when I’m comfortable and I’m most comfortable when I’m not at home. When being Autistic means that you’re the one who knows what’s going on, when you’re the one who knows what you’re looking at, when you’re the one with the full medical kit for all emergencies, when you’re the one in the luminous t-shirt the rest of the group can see from a mile away (“Can you see the guide ?. No, but I can see that bloke in the orange t-shirt!”) and even when you’re the one that your fellow travellers are convinced works for the tour company because “You’re the only person who really seems to know where we are and what we are doing!”.
They say that home is where the heart is.
My hearts in the travel bubble.
Please don’t burst it.