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Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm Back

I often ask myself why I do these trips and of course I know the answers:
1. I love meeting new people
2. I love learning new things
3. I believe that change produces growth
When I get home I try to remember this little list because with trips and travel comes people you don't like, things that aren't what you thought they would be and changes you may not have anticipated......such is the nature of travel.
This was my third trip with the Elderhostel program and it was titled "Heroic Hounds"
Our base was the DoubleTree Inn in Rohnert, Ca.
The facility was VERY nice and the food, although all buffet for our group, was good.

Our focus was to learn about those gentle giants that help people have full lives in spite of the obstacles they face.

The training that goes into these dogs is not only very time consuming and intense but also very expensive and for the most part, accomplished, on donations. The breed of choice is mostly yellow labs due to their strength, health, intellect and........................................

gentle, calm spirit. She calmly sits with her paws crossed while our group of 26, ask questions and take pictures.
We also had a demonstration of two of the of the California K9 dogs that sniff out drugs, bombs and help catch the bad guys. You would not believe how this dog changed when fellow officer acted as if he was going to attack the woman police officer he was trained with.........good thing he had a very padded arm shield.

Also on the agenda was a trip to the Charles Schulz Museum (Creator of Peanuts) and although I am not a comic fan, many of the displays were quite amazing...................

This was a floor to ceiling display made up of his different cartoons and using the dark colored cartoons to make this scene of Peanuts and Lucy.

I am very blessed to be able to travel with and without my husband and for the most part I find it very rewarding. This does not mean that it is smooth sailing and an easy task. When traveling alone, just being responsible to get yourself to the airport, remember where you parked, find the baggage claim, lift your own bag (hopefully you didn't over pack), find the shuttle and be sure you are on the right one, have the right change because they don't accept credit cards and on a group tour after you find your room, it's time to meet 25 new people that are couples as well as a few singles and somehow all blend together. You often do not get to choose your meals so you need to be flexible about that and the days can become quite long when you are traveling to and from places on a bus. This trip was different than the others that I have previously taken because it was subject focused where the others were area focused. I found this one specially taxing due to the four women who would not take directions and constantly detained the group asking endless questions. In any group you always have those that have to be first in line, first of the bus, hog the petting time and monopolize the conversations and express their political/religious views as if there were no others, but these four were just exasperating to me............................

Note to self: be sure to listen and don't ask too many questions


bigbikerbob said...

Hi, You certainly do a lot of travelling around dont you?.Here in my home town in the UK we have a Hotel which caters especially for Blind people and the special needs of them and their guide Dogs, so we see a lot being exercised and trained.

Chatty Crone said...

Way to go girl. I have never traveled alone and want so bad to take a trip this summer. Growth! You have given me encouragement!

Lady Di Tn said...

I thing you are brave one to go it alone but sounds like you have fun despite the terrible four. Uusally there is one but four. Whenever Puppy tells me such things, I say well now you know how not to act. Peace

Ming the Merciless said...

Great to hear your perspective on traveling alone.

I have been living and traveling alone since I left home to go to college. My most scary yet life-defining trip was when I went backpacking in France all by myself. I was in graduate school then, broke as a church mouse and all I had was a round-trip ticket to and from Paris. It was a great experience for me and I learned so much about myself and France.

So I'm always glad to hear stories like yours.

BTW, love the dog photos. A former colleague of mine trains eye-seeing dogs at home. Sometimes, he would bring the puppy to work just to let them socialize with humans/strangers.

JeanMac said...

Wow, what a picture of serenity - dog and master. Glad you are safely home. I ordered the catalog. How do you choose - it's a buffet of journeys:)

Shammickite said...

What a very interesting and fascinating trip you went on. I think the dogs who work for a living are marvellous, as are the people who train them to do what they do.
And as for the four annoying women... there are a couple of those on every trip. When I went on trip to Egypt, I was fascinated by the temples and the museums and all the history but there were 3 people on the tour who just couldn't care less and gossiped among themselves all the time and asked dumb questions etc etc...
I've travelled quite a bit by myself... Australia and NZ 4 years ago then off to the UK this year, but I've always had relatives to meet me at the airport and drive me about, so that makes travelling alone a lot easier. Plus there's no language barrier.