|Turkish lira with a US $100 bill|
This is the sort of thing I did with Mickey for many years before retiring: he would get funding for a conference of scientists and resource managers in some part of the world, usually somewhere in Southeast Asia, and I'd find a venue, make all the arrangements, firm up the list of attendees, and travel there with Mickey. I've been to China six times, Vietnam twice, Thailand a couple more, and Malaysia. There were a few times we went to places in Europe, Russia once, and many more that my tired old brain has forgotten for the moment.
But I've never been to Turkey or anywhere in the Middle East, for that matter. And in less than three weeks I will board a plane (three of them, to be exact) and travel for an entire day to get there. My trip is funded by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), based in Switzerland, and I've received my ticket and had the Daily Subsistence Allowance transferred to my bank account. All I have to do is take notes at the conference and help prepare a report before I return home. That was only part of what I did for Mickey in the past, and by the time we were in the midst of the conference, most of my work was done.
The meeting itself is to examine Disaster Risk Reduction in a Changing Climate. It's the same sort of thing Mickey has done in the past. That link takes you to his website with information about the meeting, if you're interested. I haven't had to do anything so far for it, but now it's imminent and I'm beginning to get concerned. It's the Middle East, after all, and I am no longer as resilient as I once was, and all that travel is the part that makes me the most anxious. My economy ticket will NOT allow me much of a chance to sleep on the plane. When I traveled with Mickey, he usually was able to upgrade me to business class, because he flies so much he's got lots of perks. But not this time; I'm traveling by myself to the meeting.
I've gotten sick three out of the last four airplane trips I've taken. It was last year in February that I traveled to Florida and then Texas for my sister's Celebration of Life. Of course, it was very emotional and draining, but after I returned home I realized I was sick with a respiratory illness of some sort. That led to a series of infections and distress for a couple of months. And that was just a small portion of the travel that lies ahead of me in a couple of weeks. My mental state about all this is not helping, is it?
So I will be taking myself to see a naturopath here in town. I've been told he is wonderful, and it will be my intent to ask him for any and all assistance to keep from getting sick. Do you know anything about naturopathy? I'm going to see a doctor at the Northwestern Clinic for Naturopathic Medicine, and I've heard wonderful things about it. It is not covered by my insurance, but I really cannot go to my regular doctor and ask him for ways to prevent illness. I am encouraged by the fact that this doctor has a "keen interest in natural approaches to both pediatric and geriatric health issues."
I am a firm believer in the importance of one's state of mind in regards to illness, and I realized that I had worked myself into quite a state over this trip. Just the fact that I have taken the step to see this doctor has relieved me and given me a sense of optimism. Just because I'm old doesn't mean I am not up for this task. But it's been seven years since I retired, and that is not inconsequential. We all know how quickly we begin to see the inevitable signs of age in ourselves at this time of life. It's one reason why I have decided that it's no longer in my best interests to keep skydiving, although nothing is stopping me. I'll make another few skydives this year, but nothing like I used to in the past.
I've learned in my life that there is good stress and bad stress. I exercise my body for the effects that it gains from being well used, and even though sometimes I hurt when we're hiking uphill and my muscles are protesting, I know I'll be stronger and feel better for having pushed myself. I remember when I was first learning to skydive, how anxious I would be before each jump. But once I successfully accomplished it, I was euphoric for days. That eventually diminished somewhat, but I still feel exhilarated after a skydive. And anxious beforehand, obsessively checking all my equipment before I exit the airplane. There's a reason why I really don't want to stop completely until I really must, because it still gives me great pleasure to have a successful skydive.
I am in the process for the next week or so of taking charge of my state of mind, and finding everything I can to assist me in the process. For better or worse, I'm going on a life adventure, and I sure would like it to be a positive experience. It's funny, it's not the actual conference and the work that is the problem with my state of mind; it's the travel. I know I will enjoy (and endure) the long sessions at the meeting where I must pay attention and take notes, because I've done it successfully in the past. I suppose that if air travel were not such a stressor in itself, I might have a different attitude about it. We'll see what the naturopath can do for me.
In other things going on in my life this week, my friend Judy and I are in the process of seeing all the movies that have been nominated for Oscars. We went both days last weekend and yesterday as well. She said her husband is getting a little miffed at all our movie-going, which reminds me again how fortunate I am to have my guy, who doesn't mind in the least. He's glad I'm not the type to drag him to a movie, but he also knows that if I see one that I know he will enjoy, I'll tell him about it and he will go to see it on his own. We saw Whiplash yesterday, after hearing nothing about it until the Academy Awards were announced. I left the theater feeling literally worn out, since it's a fast-paced story that doesn't let up one iota for the entire time. It was a wonderful experience, but a little hard to take on one hand. I'll say no more about it, but if you're interested, check out the link.
Today we'll go see Selma, which is about Martin Luther King and LBJ during a historic three-month period in 1965. It is a movie that has garnered great reviews and plenty of controversy. Neither the director nor the actor who plays King were nominated, and people feel it's a huge snub. The depiction of LBJ as an obstacle to progress toward the Voting Rights Act is also in dispute. Since I lived through that time, it will be hard to be reminded how awful things were, but it's also a perfect way to remember a man on his birthday weekend who changed history.
Another post is written on a dark Sunday morning. I can hear the rain beating down hard, with the wind whipping around as well. It's also the day when the NFL championship game will be played here in Seattle, and I'm hoping that the weather calms down a little before everyone has to head out to the game. I know my friend Linda in Seattle will be warm and dry in her home watching on TV. I may have to wait until after the movie to find out who won. Go Hawks!