Writer’s Workshop: I’m A Lousy Traveler

Image by Joshua_Willson from Pixabay

I’m not what you’d call a “boat person,” nor are the people around me “boat people”. About the only time I get on a boat is when there’s no way I can avoid it. So it probably won’t surprise you to know that the last time I was on a boat was over 20 years ago, when I was in Sydney.

In this case, I went to Sydney to do a week’s worth of training. With all the International Date Line stuff and everything, it meant leaving on Friday and arriving on Sunday morning. I hadn’t slept much on the plane, and I was tired and really not in the mood to do any sightseeing. So I wasn’t in the best mood when I was informed by my hotel in Manly that my room wouldn’t be ready until 4 that afternoon. The young lady at the desk suggested I take the ferry from the Manly Wharf to Sydney.

With nothing else to do for six hours, I took her advice. I and an older couple were the only people on the boat when it left Manly Wharf. It moved pretty quickly, but not so fast that we would create a wake. It took about twenty minutes to Circular Quay in Sydney. I spent the next five hours wandering around, enjoying myself while at the same time not knowing where I was or what I was looking at, kind of a zombie, really. Finally, I got back on the ferry and rode back to Manly.

I think I took the ferry from Sydney to Manly one more time, so I guess you could say that was the last time I’ve been on a boat. That was the night I decided to try Sydney’s subway system from the office to the hotel and managed to get totally lost, and only by chance finding Circular Quay. The rest of the time, I took a one-hour bus ride to the office from Manly in the morning and did the reverse in the afternoon. A couple of the guys from the office, sensing I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, managed to get me out and around, for which I was eternally grateful.

I guess you could say I’m not a very good traveler, either. But, in my defense, this was in the mid-’90’s, when Internet resources were not what they are today. Had I gone today, I would have been able to see that there was a route to and from the office that would have taken me from Circular Quay to the office (outlined in gray on the map) that would have taken me across the water, from which I could take a bus that would get me to the office at roughly the same time and which would have been much more enjoyable. Oh well, live and learn…

27 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: I’m A Lousy Traveler

  1. I enjoy traveling and small boats are nice. I have never been on a cruise but I have taken a ferry more than once and enjoyed it also. I know it’s not fun when one is lost or gets taken advantage of which has happen to many people

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  2. I’m a terrible traveler too. I told the husband I am not going to travel anymore. I just don’t like too.. On that note, I talked to Connor today and asked him how the wedding plans were going? The wedding is in October. I asked him where they were going on their honeymoon ?? He told me Africa, OMG !!! I swear these kids are going to kill me yet. I told him I’ll look for his episode, “SOS, So you think you’d survive on The Weather Channel.” Ahhhhhh, just shoot me. I digress Blessings, Mr John 😉 .

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      1. Africa Definitely not going to happen as long as I’m alive 😉 Spent my whole life trying to raise street savvy kids. I let them go school (High School) in the city (and not a real great part of the city) for God’s sake. You would think by now they get that the world is not user friendly !!! I told their dad to handle it, I’m out…Have a great weekend, Mr. John and Blessings to your Angel Mary ❤

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  3. I’m not big on boats, either. I do like rides near the shore. I don’t like to be out far.
    You’re right about the maps, too. I note that now, you can travel like a local when you’re new in town. It’s a good thing.

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    1. I lost track of the number of times I sat in a hotel room on Sunday night, trying to find where I was going on the maps they printed in the phone book at the time. My sense of direction is terrible. When Mapquest came out, it made life a lot easier.

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  4. Are you kidding? I was brought up in Manly and went to school in Stanmore (anyone who knows Sydney would, quite rightly, see this as an act of stupidity in itself) and the most efficient way of doing so was by bus and train – but I lived for the days when the buses and trains were on strike and we would have to take the Manly Ferry into the city. It was great! Especially on days when a big swell was coming through the heads and the spray would come over the bow.

    I still leap aboard the ferry from time to time just for the hell of it.

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    1. Given the relative lack of information I was dealing with, the bus seemed to be the best way to get where I was going, just time-consuming. But, I lived through it…

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      1. You are quite right about that, of course. The fact that it is a time-consuming mode of transport is the very thing that attracted me to it during those (late for) schooldays.

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  5. I love boats (grew up in a sailing family). I find the train system in Sydney easier than the buses so try and stick to the trains as much as possible (I’m only there a couple of times a year). But modern technology does make it much easier.

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    1. Like I said, I should have taken a lot more time to prepare to go to Sydney. I might have been able to figure out the trains well enough to get where I needed to go. Oh well, live and learn.

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  6. Remember, a few years back when the cruise liner broke and they had to tow it to Mobile, AL to fix it? I used to drive through Mobile often and could see it. I read all the nightmare stories. I had been on several cruises before that. But, none since. I like boats and sailing, but from now on only when I can see the land. River cruises and inside passage Canada/Alaska types; no ocean or Caribbean trips for me. I agree that traveling is a pain, but until we refine teleportation, it is the only way I know of to get there. Don’t forget your phone. 🙂

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    1. There are all kinds of videos on YouTube that tell the horror stories about cruise ships (and airplanes and just about every other form of transportation), and I’ve seen TV shows that show the dark side of cruises. That’s as close as I want to get…

      I vaguely remember hearing about the cruise ship in Mobile Bay, but if it was before my stroke in 2007, it’s probably been wiped out…

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        1. The worse things got with flying, the more willing I was to drive someplace. By the time I quit traveling, it was almost to Toledo. When Mary and I would go into Chicago, we always drove. Flying is a huge hassle and terribly uncomfortable for the wide-bodied among us (of which I’m one).

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  7. I’m not big on floating around on the water in open things like boats. I hear ‘ya about them, the lack of fun. Fortunately from what I can tell you don’t have to be involved with boats where you live so yay for you.

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    1. They have the manmade lakes (Lanier, Alatoona, Hartwell etc.) that are boat-friendly and pretty close to here (30-50 miles), but put rednecks on a boat with a lot of beer and you get the general idea of weekends there. I’m always hearing about someone falling off a boat and drowning up there, so no thanks.

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  8. I could write a novel about my experiences on boats/ships. I have been on several cruises, the best one was the Alaskan cruise; several ferry boat trips when I lived in Florida; many outings on small boats (I was lost at sea with 5 others for 3 days on a 26 ft boat – yep, true story!). My last boating gig was the Alaskan cruise and I have no desire to set foot on another boat, and so it goes.

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    1. Mary and I have never had any desire to take a cruise, but I worked with a guy who loved cruising. He’d watch for short cruises where they had space, and he and his wife would run down to Florida (from New Haven, CT) and take advantage of the low price. He said that when he retired, he wanted to work for one of the cruise lines as someone who helped people find their cruise ship. I guess it’s one extreme or the other…

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  9. I wish my last boat ride was in Australia! I’ve always wanted to go! Also, I am useless without my phone to navigate me. If I didn’t have access to it I don’t think I’d ever leave my house.

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    1. I think the best technology we had when I was there was AOL. Mapquest just started and half the directions on it were wrong, and it didn’t cover anything but the US. It was primitive, I tell ya…

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  10. Back in the 60’s and 70’s the idea of traveling through Europe with just a backpack and hosteling it was super trendy. I joined the military in 1975 for the purpose of a chance to travel. I was assigned to Turkey, then on the way back I did some stops in Europe and it all taught me something very important: it showed me I actually hate traveling. I hate traveling to other countries. I decided I never wanted to travel overseas again. I’m a home-body to the continental U.S.

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