During my day Wednesday on the Oregon Coast, I told myself that if I wanted to, I could splurge on a motel room, get sleep within blocks of the Pacific, and head home today. I let myself consider that a possibility, I left a note for my housemates telling them it was a possibility -- I'd call if I decided to stay, so no one would worry -- and of course I knew there'd be plenty of motels and, it being mid-week, there should be rooms at decent rates available. (My hunch was that Seaside might have slightly less expensive rooms than Astoria, so it made sense to go to Seaside so I could watch the sunset over the ocean.)
To Seaside: check. Watch the sunset: check. Get cheap food and get online so I could update my online life and contact people: check, at a McDonald's after sunset. Decide to stay or go: um...
No, it wasn't like that. At McDonald's I quickly decided to head home that night. But on my way (and during times like this), I got to thinking maybe that was the wrong choice. Had I decided not to stay because it would've been pricey? I could swing it. Did I think getting a room would be a hassle? Hotels and motels WANT people to stay with them; they won't make it unnecessarily difficult. Did I worry I'd feel less fresh in the morning? SHOWERS AND SOAP EXIST ON THE COAST, CHRIS.
(Admittedly, I didn't have a full change of clothes with me, but I wouldn't have had to be a fashion horse in Seaside. It's a fairly down-home town.)
This got me thinking that I've booked motels and hotels relatively rarely for someone who's 40. At least for myself: in the past five years, thanks to my office assistant job at the construction company, I was booking plenty of hotel rooms for other people, on teams going to business HQs to tell them "Here's why we should build your building!" But I never got to go on those trips during my two years at that company. It was abstract. and on quite a few notable trips, other people took care of my booking. Weddings in South Lake Tahoe and San Francisco: booked by family. My 2010 San Diego Comic Con trip: paid for and arranged by one of the biggest comic book publishers in the world. (I did still pay taxes on that trip, like a good citizen!)
And I don't travel much.
It's as if, at some level, I'm not used to it, and don't think I can justify it. Good thing I didn't get hung up on that in Boston in late summer 2008, near the end of my felt-like-an-epic vacation in the northeast U.S.: getting to go to sleep as early as my exhausted self could do trumped (mostly) trying to find a relatively cheap place. That night's room in a hotel near the South Boston train station I'd arrived at was, after taxes and fees, around $180: the most I've ever paid for a hotel room and I think one of only two times I've paid triple digits for my hotel room stay. NO WAY SEASIDE WAS GOING TO BE THAT PRICEY. Even factoring in road-trip food I would've been eating today.
I'm writing this as a reminder that I don't have to be blocked about this. Travel is allowed! Taking time to do it is allowed!
Continuing to try and keep myself honest, it's