I've been traveling a lot for business. Too much, actually. I'm more of a home body, content with the occasional weekend RV trip where I can take all my comforts with me. But lately I find myself in the ultra-comfort of hotels -- and I'm getting spoiled.
The main reason I don't like traveling is because it's hard coming home to the chores of ordinary living. There's no one here to change the sheets daily, provide fresh towels, tidy up the clutter and generally pamper me the way I'm becoming accustomed.
While I'm away, I don't think about paying bills or shopping for groceries or entertaining grandkids. I don't even have to worry about the cats, since my neighbor, Connor, takes care of them for me. No, my biggest concern while on the road is finding the next restaurant for the next meal.
This jet-setting, whirlwind of travel began a couple of weeks ago when I found myself in Tucson, Ariz., for a book festival. It was a bit of a culture shock going from green lawns and blossoming trees to mostly dirt and cactus plants. Talk about a drought. But it didn't take long before I was cataloging varieties of cacti, watching for lizards and exploring nearby canyons that were nothing like home.
Just about the time I thought about permanently retiring to the desert, I had to pack for my next trip, a conference in Monterey. This time the view was sand dunes, beaches, wind-swept trees and sailboats, accompanied by a hotel staff that saw to my every need. Thanks to the bellhop/valet, I didn't open a door the whole time I was there. Nor did I wash a dish, clean a pair of pants or even leave the room for food if I was hungry. It was all taken care of.
I have three more trips ahead of me -- to the hot weather of Los Angeles, the hospitality of San Antonio, Texas, and the history of Washington, D.C. Once again I'll be dining on local foods (Croque Monsieur at the Blue Bayou, BBQ at Texas Ribs and Lobster at Legal Sea Foods, respectively), checking out the popular sights (The Cars ride, the River Walk and the International Spy Museum), shopping at the gift shops (for a Minnie Mouse T-shirt, some Alamo arrowheads, and a lipstick camera) and enjoying the amenities at the hotels (Mickey Mouse sheets, Texas-sized breakfasts and political intrigue movies on Pay-Per-View.)
But truthfully, I'd prefer to stay home. I don't mind doing the laundry or buying my own coffee-makings or feeding my cats. When I'm home I can glance around at photos of my grandkids instead of mass-produced reproductions of Radiator Springs. I can run to the mall for a personalized birthday present from Spencer's Gifts instead of buying fake Davy Crockett rifles. I can talk to my neighbors about the crazy weather we've been having instead of sludging through the East Coast's real-life version of "Frozen."
Be it ever so humble -- and it is -- there's no place like home, not even Kansas. After this last trip, I think I'll stay put and sit a spell -- even if I have to leaf-blow the clutter away, rehang the wet towels myself and sleep on month-old sheets.
But it would be nice to find a mint on my pillow once in a while.
Contact Penny Warner at www.pennywarner.com.