Traveling With Women

I don’t really travel on my own per se. I went to a friend’s wedding when my daughter was one. I was gone for two days and the homestead went down in flames. Since then I’ve traveled with at least one child and/or a husband tethered to my side at all times. That is until a week ago when my book club took its first annual weekend retreat.

Females only. All adult. (Let’s try to ignore the fact that it sounds like I’m talking about a porn genre, okay? Thanks.)

Anyway, just so you know, traveling with grown women is very different from traveling with a husband and children. Shocked? Me too! Who would have imagined? Let me share my insights with you so that you can experience my wonderment.

  • The first thing I noticed was that no one needed me to suggest going to the potty before we left the condo. That didn’t stop me from doing it anyway. Every. Single. Time. The girls got me a shock collar to help me break the habit. Such a thoughtful gift. Also, no one suddenly leaped up, sprinted to the bathroom and then emerged, declaring, “I peed on the tub and a little in the potty” even after three glasses of wine.

Literate and potty trained

  • Everyone voluntarily bathed themselves and I didn’t have to wash anyone’s hair while listening to them whine, “Not in the eyes, not in the eeeeyes!” Nor did I have to comb the house for their special mermaid. I’m also pretty sure that no one yelled “I have to poop!” while in the shower, though it was hard to hear with my mouth full of wine.
  • The bathroom smelled unnaturally good the whole time we were there, leading me to believe that women defecate lavender and sunshine, which evaporates into a rainbow before ever touching the toilet bowl. Or perhaps they just knew the location of the air freshener. Whatever the case, it only served to reinforce my concerns for Hubs’s digestive system, because our commode at home consistently looks and smells like it lost an alien war.

What I imagine is happening behind our closed bathroom door. (image via

  • No one solved a crime, rescued anyone or helpfully pointed out potential criminals. There wasn’t any road rage or general irritability. One of the girls nearly threw down over some missing guacamole, but that’s totally understandable. Guacamole will do that to you.

Feeling despondent and about to jump? Not our problem.

  • There were extensive discussions about dietary restrictions, health obsessions and food in general. All of our dietary concerns made ordering meals a long process and in fact we were generally disliked by waitresses everywhere. On the upside, I didn’t have to take anyone for a walk during dinner, dig through my purse for something to entertain them or try to cajole them into eating more fiber.

On a quest for vegan, gluten-free, no-refined-sugar foods at the Farmer’s Market. Isn’t everybody?

  • The thing that made the single biggest impression on me, however, was the unearthly quiet at night. I slept in a room containing four other women and I woke up periodically thinking that everyone had left the room. Or died. And then I’d fall back asleep working on their eulogies. Also, the room didn’t smell like farts in the morning and nobody kicked me in the head or woke me up because they had a bad dream. This got me to thinking that there might be a whole subsection of women who are gay simply because they really want a good night’s sleep in a quiet room. Seriously, think about how fantastic a good night’s sleep is. Now look at any female on the street. She looks more attractive, doesn’t she?

Me and three delightfully quiet sleepers.

In conclusion I contend that traveling with women is all kinds of awesome. And since nothing imploded at home, I’m primed and ready for the next book club retreat. Only 51 weeks to go.

Captain Agro Rides Again

My husband is a terrible travel companion. He has many other wonderful qualities–he’s a fearless climber, tireless talker and accomplished break dancer (don’t trip, it’s true) among other things. However if you need a free-spirited companion to accompany you and your children to an exotic location that can only be reached by plane, he’s probably not the way to go, unless you enjoy traveling with Captain Agro, in which case have a nice trip and don’t forget to pack his spandex suit and cape.

image via dreamstime. Swimming with a cape is extremely impractical, which is why you never see super heroes snorkeling.

The problem is that Hubs is never mentally off duty despite what his schedule might say. If there is a gangster with a gun and poor people skills or a 90-year-old with a broken hip and no Life Alert within 50 miles, Hubs will be involved in some capacity—comforting an old lady, delivering a head injury. Possibly at the same time. Because he can multi-task.  It’s in his nature, like athleticism and flatulence.

Take our honeymoon for instance. We went to St. Martin, the self-proclaimed “World’s Friendliest Island.” I picked it because there would be no language barrier, it is located in the Caribbean, which is like being in Florida twice removed and a family friend had offered the use of his villa. These were all qualities selected with my husband’s comfort level in mind because honestly if you drop me off in the middle of the worst neighborhood and tell me that I am on vacation in another country, I’ll be giddy with excitement. I have exceptionally low standards and regard for personal safety when traveling.

Image via Dreamstime. Pollution and crime just look nicer through my rose-colored travel glasses.

Hubs disliked St. Martin immediately. There was too much poverty and poverty meant crime. The local police station was unimpressive. (Doesn’t every man take his bride on a romantic trip to the pokey?) Further more, It smelled disturbingly like South Central LA with an ocean breeze, which, come to think of it, explains why he never purchases the Ghetto Ocean Mist scented Febreeze.

When it was time for bed, Hubs paced at the window like a watch dog with a nervous disorder, surveying two individuals at the bottom of the hill on which our villa was perched. They looked suspect, the type of men who might cut the tags off pillow cases and use the pillow to smother an American citizen…and then poorly tip their waitress. I didn’t share his concern so I did what any loving wife would do—told him he was ruining my honeymoon and drugged him with Tylenol PM.

Hours later I awoke from a noise in the living room.  I woke Hubs, who left the bed and ventured to the living room buck naked (his preferred sleeping attire) but armed with a souvenir machete he’d found and stashed by the bed when I wasn’t looking. The machete was printed with the words “St. Martin: The Friendliest Island.” Nothing says friendly like a machete.

image via dreamstime. This guy looks super friendly and really happy to see you.

There outside the sliding glass doors, perched on top of a ladder and removing the louvres from the window atop the sliders was one of the men from the bottom of the hill. Apparently he was an unofficial member of the island welcoming committee staging a surprise welcome party. His friend crouched off to the side of the porch below him, probably to jump out and holler “welcome!” at the appropriate time. Because that’s what you do at a surprise welcome party. Duh.

Hubs started a casual conversation with the man on the ladder (just a dude on a ladder and a naked tourist exchanging pleasantries) in an effort to better understand their motives and relax them in the event that further violence was needed. About the time it became clear that the welcome party was off and none of us would be pen pals, my husband also realized that getting into a knife fight with two men while sporting no clothes was not optimal if he valued his testicles, which for the record, he did and does.

Testicles are a man’s favorite accessory. Like earrings only lower.

image via dreamstime. I bet she doesn't want to get in a knife fight and risk losing one of her balls either.

Hubs casually suggested to our new friends that they wait where they were because he had something for them, possibly party favors or a thank you present for throwing us such a thoughtful party. Then he strolled quickly but casually into the bedroom to throw on the nearest pair of pants.

Our new friends did not wait around for their thank you present, which admittedly sounds rude but, as I mentioned to Hubs afterward, maybe they were overwhelmed by the thought of what possible present a naked, machete wielding American might produce for them. I can’t really blame them. Hubs told me the same thing once and I ended up pregnant. Makes you think twice before accepting a present from him, you know?

38 weeks after accepting a gift from a naked American.

I unsuccessfully attempted to convince Hubs that experiencing the local crime scene was just another charming way to truly get to know another country.  He was not swayed and announced that he would never travel anywhere he could not take his gun nor sleep without pants again (cue the sigh of relief sound of heartbreak from our neighbors), I went back to bed and he stayed up to plan his own surprise party for the welcome committee should they return.

When I woke in the morning and went out to the living room again I found Hubs surrounded by homemade weapons and an empty pot of coffee.  By this time he had lost the need to blink and excitedly showed me his homemade weapons stash. I thought the stapler strapped to a board was especially nice. Then we sat and watched the local hotel burn, a completely unrelated event I think, but I can’t be sure.

image via dreamstime. Our love burns bright--like a three alarm hotel fire.

Hours later we were flying home, my bikini never having seen the sun.  And that was the end of my honeymoon, as well as the last time Hubs and I traveled outside of the United States.  And whereas my biggest regret was leaving the honeymoon without so much as a tan line, my husband’s biggest regret was having been in close proximity to two capering criminals and due to lack of gun and pants not catching them. Clearly we have different travel priorities.

One could argue that Hubs is an excellent person to have around in the event of an emergency and they’d be right. On the other hand, the emergency is less likely to happen if he’s not there—at least I’m not aware of the emergency, which is almost the same thing. After all, ignorance is bliss or at least an umbrella drink.

English: Feral cat showing fear, and lack of s...

Traveling with children is like trying to rescue a feral cat in the fast lane of a freeway filled with semi trucks–chances are there will be carnage. At the very least, your outfit is not coming out in one piece. On the other hand, if you survive the ordeal, you’ll laugh about it later over beer and pain reliever. You might even look back on the harrowing event with fondness.

Traveling with Children