Why can’t travel be as pleasant as Google Earth?

Flying is more fun with Google Earth

From El Dorado Hills California

Our home in El Dorado Hills California

Preparing for our trip, I’m discovering the wonders of Google Earth. I downloaded it sometime back but forgot about it soon thereafter. Now, as we prepare to travel from California to Venice I can’t believe that somebody captured all that data. Watching Google Earth travel from El Dorado Hills to Venice may be a gimmick but it certainly is a dramatic one.

Reality is different.

Actually getting from our home to our Venice Apartment is much more complicated. It

Marco Polo Airport in Venice Italy

Marco Polo Airport in Venice Italy

starts with a 100 mile drive to San Francisco International because my frequent flier miles program apparently doesn’t like the closer Sacramento Airport. San Francisco, although international, is only a way station for a flight to LAX where the international leg begins. I lived 24 years in LA and never used the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. Now that we live 400 miles away, we get our chance. We leave LAX at 5;00 in the afternoon and 12hours later land in Madrid, another first for both of us. After a four hour layover we board the final flight to Venice arriving at 6:30 in the evening (or 8:30 in the morning back home). Then if all goes well, we take a 15 minute taxi

Our neighborhood in Venice

Our apartment is in the Dorsoduro Sestiere of Venice

ride, walk five minutes and meet the greeter for our rental apartment who will lead us there. Much more complicated than Google Earth.

Those pesky details. 

During this last week before departure, it’s the details that keep bugging me. What will I kick myself about when I get to Venice that would be so easy to fix before we leave? What clothes to take? I always over pack but this time we will ration ourselves to one small suitcase each. Since it is cold, we need a coat. That I intend to wear but I keep thinking that it might be nice to have a jacket as well but if I pack a jacket, what will I leave behind? Then, of course shoes which take up lots of suitcase space. I know that whatever I decide to pack, I will be unhappy at some point. Still I can’t stop testing alternatives in my head. I don’t know yet what will finally make the suitcase.

We both expect the 12 hour flight to be unpleasant in the cramped, economy seats. The airbus has two deep seating on the side meaning that we won’t have anybody crawling over us but my concern is sleep. I have never been able to sleep on an airplane. It may be the cramped seating or perhaps it is just all the stimulation from strange noises. I’ve got a mask for my eyes, a blanket and a support pillow but I also asked my doctor for some sleeping pills. With any luck I’ll get at least 6 hours and won’t be a total zombie. I’ve thought about some of the advice I hear about jet lag. Some people say put yourself on the schedule for the time zone you are visiting. I just can’t see that working for me. I’m just going to drink water and avoid alcohol. It’s a small price to pay if it gets me adjusted more quickly and I can make up for the alcohol once I reach Venice.

At this point, I am probably over thinking everything. I should just relax and enjoy the experience but unfortunately that’s just not the way I’m wired. Now if I can only find something to knock me out until we get on the plane.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Bill Murney from 'Walks In Tameside' February 24, 2012, 2:55 am

    Ralph, I have often thought it would be wonderful if we could be instantly transported to our destination, ‘beam me up Scotty’.

  • Ralph February 24, 2012, 8:38 am

    I agree, Bill. But it would probably trivialize travel even more. Part of the reason why we want to visit places is that they aren’t next door. Heck I live just a few hours from some pretty dramatic sights that I haven’t managed to visit yet. Human nature is strange.

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