My husband Tom and I returned last weekend from eight nights in Amsterdam, a trip that Tom has been wanting to take for several years.
The trip was wonderful - we loved wandering around the canal district, walking through the Van Gogh museum and the Rembranthaus, seeing the old Dutch paintings in the Amsterdams Historisch Museum and the Reijksmuseum. We took a day trip to Delft, where Tom found some parts for his bicycle in a street market, as well as some very authentic wooden shoes. I found time to do some sketching and reading, and Tom had time explore the city by bike.
And yet, the trip was also hard. I was very emotionally reactive, not my usual fairly even-keeled self. Tears came easily and at awkward times - in a train station or walking down a sidewalk. I sometimes felt that even Tom and I were "divided by a common language." I needed breaks for tea and down time in the afternoons to regroup. So, what is it about traveling that is so hard? Is it just that much harder to cope in an unfamiliar place on top of the usual effort to hear and understand what is going on around me? And this in a country where everyone was very kind and spoke English?
I don't know the answers but I am thinking I may need a different kind of preparation for traveling - a plan for how to take care of myself from the beginning, to think about what I need and to reduce the sensory input so I don't hit "overload" so easily. I saw a flyer today about an event at a shopping center for children with autism - an opportunity to visit with Santa with reduced stimuli, lower lights and not so much hoo-haw. I can relate!