Getting her passport was an adventure by itself. She had only one original birth certificate, all hand written and on a huge piece of paper. She said it came from the hospital itself back in the day and before they made certified copies. I think she had to guess on her father's place of birth because he wasn't in her life much past the age of five. Then the question of passport photos, and whether you had your glasses on or off became a big question mark. She had people telling her different stories but in the end it didn't matter because none of the photos were her favorite.
This trip is very exciting because for her first overseas excursion, my oldest brother is taking her not me – which is why this is exciting for me.
My brother has it all set up so that she and my sister will be kept busy, while he and his wife, both seasoned travelers, along with her older father enjoy themselves as well – for two weeks. They will be in London, Scotland and Paris. If it goes well, I will take her somewhere else, like Italy in the springtime, before her passport expires.
Though this is my sister’s first time across the Atlantic as well, it is more exciting for my mother because she is unique. She is in her late 70s and comes from a family background where she didn’t travel anywhere, except by cable car or trolley. She never learned to ride a bike. The irony was that her mother’s family grew up traveling by steamer ship and train, on a regular basis.
I must admit that I didn’t think my mother would be able to out aside her routines to make the trip. She is quite capable but I don’t get the impression she likes to be out of her comfort zone for long anymore. However this trip is great news and hopefully she will have an amazing time, returning home with lots of stories and pleasurable experiences.
Until she leaves, my plan is to keep touching base with her and giving her tips and tricks learned from all of my travels. You can’t really say what she will remember or actually use but here are my top five recommendations for any elderly lady traveling in June to the UK:
- Comfortable walking shoes that fit well, include orthotics if necessary
- Bring warm layers, include a hat and gloves
- Zippered flat bottom tote
- Scented bar of soap to wash out undies and socks
- Favorite reading material
My mother already says she does not get the British sense of humor, so unless they are showing a Jane Austen movie, she won’t be watching the television or “telly” in the evening. She lives in Arizona for a reason, so she knows to plan for cold temperatures. Having a sturdy tote, that can sit flat on the ground by her feet and zips close for security will make her relax and enjoy the people around her. Otherwise she will be distracted from the sight of the Tower of London by the man sitting on the bus across from her. Suggesting she bring reading material is important because she gets up at the crack of dawn, even on vacation, thinks most airport magazines are trashy and needs something to read while my brother and the rest go on the whisky tasting tour.