November 3, 2017 in Hanoi…6:30pm.Teresa, my travel pal/buddy/assistant/record keeper/guide/soulmate just left for the airport (she’s also known as T., Tee, Welly Girl but mostly as Lace—because I do that nickname thing, affectionately like George Bush, and Teresa says she doesn’t mind). I admit to being sad. Very sad to be honest. Over the approximately 23 years we’ve been traveling together, there have been more than a few changes—once I watched over her every move, afraid to let the lovely child out of my sight for a moment. Now she is handling much of the planning, currency exchanges, street crossings (no small thing in Hanoi) and suggesting my food choices—all with a smile, giggle, occasional wry comment, but never ever letting me think she’s bored with my (sometimes, less than exciting) presence.
It has been in my mind during the last trips we’ve taken together that one of these times will be the last. I’ll be way too infirm to keep up with Lively Lace who wants to walk or run or hike or kayak every waking hour—probably barely able to maintain the pace of Leisurely Lace who’s good with getting up late and having an extra wine at lunch. The girl’s a bit of a shape shifter which makes her everyone’s favorite traveling companion—so I have competition for her limited time.
But here’s my plan. If I attend my abs class faithfully, walk more, and do the machines enough so overhead luggage compartments and squat toilets are no problem, maybe there’s another trip or two for us. Hey Lace, I promise to memorize the exchange rates in at least every other country. And to never pack as badly again.
I have several Vietnam things to talk about and a few hundred photos to post but there’ll be little time before I’m all tucked into the Nocknoy Lanexang Guesthouse in Luang Prabang tomorrow night.
I just felt like talking about Lace because I already miss her and am wandering if it’s really true that I like traveling alone. Guess I’ll see in the next 24 days won’t we? Now to bed for my last Hanoi sleep. I am also sad tonight to know I’ll likely never see Vietnam again and it is a special place.