International TravelThings I Love


“You are not cancelling your trip!”  Those were the oft-repeated words said by my mom as her cancer progressed since the beginning of the year, knowing I was due to leave on the hubby’s and my annual post-tax-season vacation. But how does one choose to go away when a loved one is sick and the ultimate ending is obviously unpredictable … ?
Frankly, the thought of leaving the country (this time to Peru, Ecuador and Colombia) and not having my customary daily conversation(s) with my mom was nearly unthinkable.  If a true vacation is one where the smart phones are left behind, then focusing on when and how to call didn’t make a lot of sense. The exception to that was last year upon learning our hotel room included free international calls; you can pretty much guess who was the first person I phoned. (You’re correct.)

When the daily phone calls with my mom went away, she and I still had our visits. And when she didn’t have much energy left even for that, it truly became a race against the clock.  There was no way I was leaving so close to her end and there was no way of knowing when exactly that would be.
I almost never pay for trips in advance except airline fees, with major airfare booked using miles which can be reinstated and reused.  The internal flights can be easily be changed (I learned that along the way).  So it is ironic that the first part of this particular trip is with Orient Express in Peru, including Machu Picchu, and that is fully paid, non-refundable inside of 45 days, which deadline was long past.  Travel expert, huh?  Travel insurance rarely speaks to me; I have found the limitations for repayment not commensurate with the cost.  I may rethink this in the future.  
How about leave and then come back if her passing is imminent?  Reality check:  No can do (for me personally), even though there are lots of flights between those countries and Los Angeles on AA.  After all, we both knew what was coming and little had been left unsaid.  Nevertheless this was indeed a fluid situation, changing day by day.
I really owe the genesis of Travel with Teri B. to my mom. My writing started on these long, annual trips with lengthy emails to her detailing every day.  She would ask me if she needed to forward the emails to the family and I would tell her no and she would forward them anyway. Then it morphed into a Shutterfly share site which then two years ago morphed into this blog. She was always the first to read a new post and always the first to glowingly comment (only via email as couldn’t figure out how to post on the blog site). When she could no longer use her computer, I would share my new posts with her from my phone.
In the end, none of the “should I or shouldn’t I” mattered as she passed a week before the scheduled departure.  After her suitable and beautiful send off, filled with gales of laughter and buckets of tears, please know that she would have loved hearing about the latest travels as I hope you do too ..
Lovingly dedicated to the memory of Annette Michaels   
5/16/29 ~ 4/10/14