On the Road Again

For the better part of two decades, I made my living working in the travel and tourism industry.

Just as good writers need to write, most good tourism promoters need to travel. So, I traveled to everything from promotional trade shows and policy workshops to industry forums and sales events. I’ve visited nearly every state, and several international countries.

I was on the road so often that I generally just kept a bag of “necessary” amenities and some clothes packed away in a suitcase. I could, and would, travel at a moment’s notice. It was no big deal.

But, times have changed.

While I love the thought of seeing and experiencing beautiful and entertaining places as much as I always did, the thought of traveling far from home now gives me a great deal of pause and even some anxiety. Cramped airplane and automobile seating can be extremely hard on my spine. So instead of focusing on keeping a bag packed of toothpaste and the like, I now have to think about what I will need for pain management and prevention. And, I have to do it in a way that allows for me to still carry a small bag of photography necessities.

Blue Angels at San Francisco's 2011 Fleet Week

Last Thursday, Mary and I traveled with friends to see and experience Napa Valley and the Bay Area of California. The medical suitcase I had to pack included ice packs, a heat pack, a TENs unit, a CPAP machine, a cane, two special neck and back pillows, over-the-counter oral medications, prescription oral medications and pain patches, a handheld electrical biofeedback unit, a low back brace, and (of course) a corkscrew!

The photo to the right shows what my neck looked like under my shirt before I began each day. I used to fancy myself as quite the “catch.” Seeing this picture has helped cure me of what I can now admit was a delusional notion to begin with. Thank God Mary and our travel companions are all Saints.

We returned from the long weekend yesterday. Over the next few posts, I’ll share some photographs and trip stories. More importantly, I will share how photography was (once again) a powerful remedy.

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