Healthy Headlines - Holiday Travel Quest

12/6/2013

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go.”-Dr. Seuss

The month of December brings us many exceptional gifts.  For many, this may be one of those few times throughout the year we can enjoy the company of our whole family as well as childhood friends that may not have been seen over an extended period of time.  Some folks will be working on travel plans months ahead of time trying to work out the complex plan that is holiday travel.

I was thinking back throughout many of my holidays and thought of some of my traveling adventures with my family.  I now realize my voyages were quite similar to a quest.  This quest could be compared to some popular 1990’s video games like, “Zelda: Ocarina of Time”.  In this classic video game the player must go through many trials and challenges to win the ultimate prize.  It’s an adventure game that allows the player to meet many different characters and provides many interesting and fun challenges throughout the game.  Yes, I believe it’s safe to say for many of us this may be very similar to our holiday travel.

So, keeping in mind the similarities to the adventure video game the Holiday Travel Quest can be broken down in different stages.  It is during these stages that different challenges will need to be met. I will provide to you, the determined reader, some insight and helpful hints to assist you.  Let our adventure begin….

Stage 1 (Pre-travel Prep):
  Within this stage holds the initial presentation of your holiday travel plans.  Coaxing happiness and critical approval of your upcoming holiday travel plans by your cohorts can be perplexing. The presentation may be given to your loved ones who will be anxiously awaiting your arrival, travel partners, or both.  Make no mistake, this presentation must be well versed and given with the upmost of beats. Whether you are traveling to the North Pole or to the Hawaiian Islands the presentation of these arrangements must be provided in a manner that anyone watching and listening to your presentation would be left incredibly eager to go along.  As you present these plans, be sure to use much voice-tone variation and amplification.

Now and again the presentation within this stage may require physical animation.  This can be accomplished by moving the upper extremities in large circular movements with or without the addition of, “jazz hands”.   This will undoubtedly strike further interest into your listeners.  If this stage is executed properly rest assured your holiday travel plans will be well on their way before any inquisitive or challenging questions can be inquired.

While you are mapping out your Holiday quest consider the routes (and alternate routes) that will or may be taken.  Take note of possible rest areas, gas stations, and lodging opportunities prior to your trek.  Spontaneous, additional challenges may occur.  Being prepared for such possibilities will fare you well.  Take additional note to weather and possible weather changes during your travel spell.  For example, for most of us in the Midwest the probability of bitter-cold, wind and snow is quite great.  Consider packing in your automobile a heavy blanket, candles, flashlight, small food-stuffs with dried goods and a first-aid kit.  It is when an automobile breakdown occurs when most of us think of these things.

Additionally, make sure your automobile is ready for the mileage you will be putting on it throughout your quest (oil change, condition of tires/tread, and mechanic-check prior to departure).  If you have a cell-phone, or smart-phone, make sure you have it charged (take the charger with you) and ready to go at the time of your leaving. If you do not have such a device please consider investing in one.  With such a communication device many challenges can be easily overcome during your holiday trek.  Many carriers have pay-as-you-go plans.  This type of cell-phone option would work great in this setting.

Stage 2 (During the Quest):
  During this stage tenacity is your friend.  You may be required to travel more than one day to reach your destination.  A multiple day journey can pose additional challenges.  However, additional challenges heed additional fruits of labor. One must remember in times of trial: it is the journey as well as the destination that is to be experienced and enjoyed.  Planes, trains, automobiles, or a combination of all three may be used throughout your quest.  Long lines, impatient co-travelers, angry tollbooth operators, and cramped sleeping quarters on the trail are only a few possible holiday travel challenges that one may encounter.

Consider making pre-travel arrangements for extended travel.  For example, prior to and during your trip review and consider the mapping of your travel route to see where a good stopping point may be for you and make arrangements if it appears that overnight accommodations are required.  One must remember during the holidays the best planners often the biggest winners.

At times even the best adventurist may feel overwhelmed and wish to turn back.  But, hold steadfast my friends and remember the ones who came before you.  Recall your mother, father, aunts, uncles, as well as all other family members and close friends who participated with great affection to see you enjoy the holiday experience during your youth.  Remember the special people in your life who helped you when you were a child to see to it that you arrived unscathed throughout your previous travel adventures.  By thinking of them and their never-ending determination to overcome obstacles through those previous treks may provide you with the fortitude and ever-growing inner strength to continue your quest regardless of the challenges that lie before you.  With perseverance and true-grit your holiday expedition will be complete!

Stage 3 (Arrival and Celebration):
You have arrived at your destination! Family and friends abound! Your co-traveler(s) find you irresistible and they look upon you with great admiration!  After the group hug allow yourself some time to enjoy your victory. During your quest challenges were overcome and all have enjoyed the journey. You have arrived at your destination safe and sound. You have made your ancestors proud.  You, your family, and your friends can now enjoy with you your victory.  Congratulations fellow traveler your tenacity and hard work has paid off!  My fellow Kansans, I wish much happiness, continued good health, and a Happy New Year!  Until the next adventure I bid you safe holiday travels and a hearty farewell. 

As with all medical conditions, always feel free to contact your physician or healthcare provider with any questions or concerns.

Dr. Charles Weintz is the author of, “Healthy Headlines.”  He is a family physician and medical director at Stanton County Hospital and Family Practice.

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