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Is it culture shock? | Prime Living


Last updated 7/24/2020 at 2:07pm

The Return

3:45 a.m., our hosts Monique & Bernard drive us to the train station and escort us to our train in the Lyon-Par Dieu station. They kiss and hug us goodbye, Bernard very unapologetically drips tears. Of course, we reciprocate. How can such warm-hearted and generous people be sad to see their fellow lockdown housemates of three months, leave?

Onward to Paris, Charles De Gaulle Airport, and we have two hours to get our boarding passes, check luggage, go through security and find our gate. I just have to mention that Dan never, I mean never gets through the first go-round due to more stuff in his pockets. And by the time I take off my backpack, take out the computer, take off my jacket, hat, scarf and shoes in a hurry for our gate, the clock is ticking.

We hop around on one foot, then the other, while we cram our feet in shoes, scramble into our clothes, hoist our backpacks, then fast-walk to the gate. We are out of breath, but we make it.

Did I mention that the airport had about a hundred visible people compared with the thousands that it normally is? We notice that a few travelers wore masks, and all of the service people wore masks.

The plane was much less than half-full, leaving us puzzled at the thrice-canceled flights during the prior three weeks. Masks were required the entire 11.5 hours of flight plus the 1.5 hours of delay taking off.

Los Angeles is our transit port, and is a ghost town. We had just 90 minutes of time to get our luggage off the carousel, walk it through customs, present our global entry at the kiosk, find the ticket agent for our Seattle flight, get through security, and find the boarding gate.

You know all of those line barriers to herd you to the ticket counters and security that are normally full of people? There was one party ahead of us. We barely made it.

Arrived in Seattle, we hopped on the light rail to downtown Seattle, then a bus to the Lynnwood Transit Center, and got a Lyft to our Airbnb in Lynnwood. Voilà. Arrived after 27 hours of travel. Crashed into a lovely, comfy bed.

Jet Lag

It's quickly behind us with some homeopathy taken every two hours of travel. We take 10 days to find our balance here in the midst of continued handwashing rituals and obligatory mask-wearing.

New Adventures

We are exploring our Washington world for a new nest. We want a home-base from which to travel. If you remember, we got married, RIGHTsized out of houses and most of our junk before we left, and now are ready to create our own place.

Hunting for a home is a great new adventure. We still enjoy pet sitting, and will accept assignments where we next want to explore. Italy beckons us, and Thailand.

People ask us if we would do this again and we say, "In a heartbeat, YES." The friends we made, the places we saw, the ancient places of history are engraved in our hearts and our many photos.

The key to long-term travel as we've done is the ability to be flexible. Flexible with hosts' plans changing, flexible with travel plans changing en route, flexible with food and money and language. And patience, love and laughter with each other.

What culture shock?

Here we drive with an automatic rather than a stick shift. We eat early here as opposed to 8-8:30 p.m. in Europe. Produce weighed by cashiers here rather than self-weighed in the produce section in France. Peanut butter is readily available here and nearly impossible to find in Europe.

Here we find a small section of cheese and sausage compared with hundreds in each grocery store in France. Gas delivered in gallons here vs. liters in France. The wine is three times the price here, and we can't drive 130 on the freeways!

Find out more

SharonAnn and Dan's latest www.PetSittingAroundTheWorld.com blog and Facebook by the same name. SharonAnn & Dan offer "How to" coaching services for future global travelers. Find out about SharonAnn's latest book The Secret to RIGHTsizing (a guide to redesigning your life) and write us with questions. Email: [email protected].


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