Thursday, April 1, 2010

DOWNSHIFTERS' DIARY: Going Bareback

For me, one of the most difficult parts of downshifting is proving to be simply slowing down.

Hotel reservations create in me the twin senses of obligation and urgency, as in "That's where we're going to spend tonight," and "We've got to get there." That attitude fits me to a tee, given the combination of my personality and the energy of a border collie. But downshifting is supposed to be about taking life easier.

The reservation revelation came to me this morning after we woke up in Chicago. While my wife and I intellectually agree that "We're on vacation" (another favorite mantra), I felt a certain urgency to get moving. We plan to visit the Amana Colonies in Iowa and, depending on how much time we want to spend there, may not make it to our previous planned destination of Omaha tonight.

Which is fine; the reservation there can be cancelled up to 6:00 p.m. local time.

Even at that, however, there's the pressure to make a decision: Are we staying here, or are we traveling on?

The answer could be choosing to go bareback.

That's the way my sister and I traveled with our parents while growing up: we'd set our destination, head toward it until we were tired, then choose from whatever was available when we decided to stop.

I'm not quite ready to go that far yet -- too many images of places like Bob's Motel in Salt Lake City where the bed barely fit into the room. Compared to that, the Motel 6 chain (which was new when we were kids) looked luxurious. But maybe there's an interim step I can take to help myself dial down.

That's something to contemplate while I'm driving across the plains of the Midwest today where, as a family friend once quipped, "One look will last you all day."

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.

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