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Coping with The Travel Impaired

Coping with The Travel Impaired
By Caryn Bark

Listen with RealAudio: Coping with The Travel Impaired

Dear Rudy,

Recently, I took my husband and kids on our annual family vacation, after which, I figured out how to make next year's family vacation much better. I'm taking a different family! I'm know a strange man and his children will be on their best behavior while I drag them through charming New England villages. The man probably won't even blame me for the personal hair care products he forgot to pack.

As it is, most of my trips are work related, which means I travel alone. This is a good thing. My husband Fred is perfectly suited to stay home and care for our two kids. What's more, Fred is perfectly unsuited for travel, being an unfortunate member of the population who doesn't possess the travel gene.

For instance, Fred tips anyone who holds a hotel door open for him, even if it's just a polite guest. Fred can not tell the difference between an Embassy Suites doorman and a courteous traveling software consultant.

The first time I began to suspect that Fred was travel impaired was when we were first engaged. We were flying to Toronto for a cousin's Bar Mitzvah. At the airport, I deduced from the teeming sea of humanity that our flight had been overbooked. My suspicions were confirmed when the ticket agent announced that because of the large number of travelers she was asking for volunteers.

In an instant, Fred's hand shot up as he yelled, "I volunteer." The agent ran to his side to get his name and Fred proudly announced, "I can pass out trays and I'm good with children." This, though true, served only to confuse the agent. She was not seeking good Samaritans but rather people who would volunteer to give up their seats on the flight. My husband sheepishly explained he thought the airline was understaffed, not overbooked.

Then, in Toronto, we were stopped at the customs desk. We had filled out forms indicating we would be visiting Canada for only two days, which caused officer Conklin to become suspicious, which caused Fred to assume a guilty posture.

"Are you here on business?"

"No," Fred replied.

"For pleasure?" asked Officer Conklin.

Since it was a family visit, Fred answered, "No."

"Why are you in this country?"

Fred didn't figure Canadians would know from Bar Mitzvahs, so he answered, "We're here for a family event." There was almost a question mark in his voice.

"Like a wedding?" officer Conklin probed.

"No. Um, not a wedding." Fred said sounding guilty.

"Well what?"

"Like a, um, family event," Fred answered coyly.

"Like a Bar Mitzvah?"

Apparently Canadians do know from Bar Mitzvahs. But Fred doesn't know from travel. His missing travel gene is a condition that affects our entire family.

Stand by, Rudy. I'll send you updates.

Best Regards,


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