Projectionist

We signed up for a Mediterranean cruise last November, at the urging of my friend, Dee. Single, 40-something, with a great sense of fun and adventure, she asked us to join up with a larger group of friends. “You and Studley need to go on this cruise! I really want to get back to SCUBA diving, and I’m terrified of going it alone!”

So we did.

The cruise organizer is a former colleague, Ted. Ten years ago, he beat the odds against aggressive brain cancer. Every year, he arranges a cruise holiday with friends and family to celebrate another year of remission. Yet another great reason to sign up…

Studley and i decided to hit Rome early and spend a few days there before boarding the ship. We weren’t sure we could get off the ship and to the airport in time for a same-day departure, so we also booked a night at an airport hotel before our return flight. It was pricey, so i used some of my banked hotel points for a free room.

Dee was making her own arrangements. She pinged along the way, finally telling Studley that she was too scared to go it alone, and asked if she could connect up with us for the days in Rome. He shared our hotel info, and flight arrangements with her. She decided to also spend the extra night in Rome on the return, but found out our hotel was way out of her price range – and didn’t have points to burn. Since she knew many others on the trip, she emphasized that she didn’t expect to tag along with us for the entire trip, and said she’d figure something out.

We got to Rome and hopped the train to Termini station. Dee has not traveled much, and we made sure to share the process with her – coaching along the way*. Tracking train schedules, buying tickets, map navigation, avoiding touts and pickpockets. We had booked a sweet little place in Rome, and had a blast farting around for a couple of days. At breakfast, on the morning of our departure for the cruise terminal…

1Rome a

daisyfae: Have you figured out where you’re going to stay on that last night in Rome?

Dee: Not yet. I need to get on that…

daisyfae: This hotel is terrific – maybe ask to see if they’ve got a room available?

Dee: I don’t know if I can get back to the train station by myself…

daisyfae: You’ve done it six times since we’ve been here! You’re a ninja! You got this!

Dee: I don’t know…

The cruise was fun – we are not particularly fond of big cruise ships, but it is nice to unpack once and then wake up every day in a different port… Sometimes a different country. Florence, Cannes, Mallorca, Barcelona, Naples… It was a grand trip!

Periodically, i’d ask Dee if she’d figured out what she would be doing for that last night… Suggested talking to the Guest Services staff on board, stopping in the internet café to get online and do some checking. She continued to procrastinate. It was frustrating for Studley and me – we are not over-planners, but having a place to stay is one of those things you really need to take care of when traveling! Trying to help her learn to travel independently, i got a little agitated that the student wasn’t taking initiative!

Studley had arranged a few adventures on shore for the two of us. We rented Vespas in Cannes – managing to get lost a few times, but still finding some gorgeous spots on the French Riviera! He also arranged our dive trip near Naples – Roman ruins, dating back to Emperor Claudius! Not the “warm water, pretty reefs and colored fishies” dives that we’re used to, but absolutely fascinating!

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The last night on board, Dee still hadn’t made her hotel arrangements. i insisted that she go to the guest services desk.

daisyfae (to Studley): It’s like she’s not even trying! She is fully capable of taking care of this! i just don’t get it!

Studley: You know, not everyone aspires to be an independent traveler. I think she just wants someone else to deal with it…

daisyfae : …

Studley: Some people want to be taken care of… and there’s nothing wrong with that!

daisyfae [lightbulb over head]: You’re absolutely right. Holy shit! i’ve been projecting MY need to be independent onto her. That’s not what she wants…

In the end it was Eddie, the internet café manager, who hooked her up with lodgings. The hotel was a short taxi ride from the train station. When we got to our hotel near the airport, i sent Dee a text…Checking to see if she’d gotten to her hotel…

daisyfae: We made it! Are you settled? Best option for a train from Termini is the Leonardo Express – look for the separate ticket kiosk at the station.

Dee: Made it ok! I’m just going to take a taxi to the airport tomorrow.

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*”Adventure shared is adventure squared!” Encouraging others to “Get off the sofa” is absolute joy!

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24 thoughts on “Projectionist

  1. Diving over Roman ruins? Ooooh. And ahhh.
    And Studley was right. Some people do want/need to be looked after. The fact that she didn’t want to get back into scuba diving alone was probably the first signal.
    Different people, different choices…

    • The visibility was poor, but the mosaics? Amazing! Statuary that was built for Emperor Claudius’ Nymphaeum… It was astonishing, and unlike anything i’ve ever experienced! i appreciate that Dee got us involved in the trip, and that led to the dive excursion!

      You’re right about that cue – there were SO MANY that i completely missed along the way! She’s a wonderful person, and we had a grand time… i am a goober for not seeing it from the start…

  2. Women should NOT be alone in Rome. You guys did the right thing having her along.

    Vespas! That Studly is a keeper. If you can find someone you can travel with, you’ve won the game.

    I’m kind of in your camp. Jesus, you’re an adult. Make your own way. No more mommy around to do it for you. You’re never to old to grow a pair.

    • Umm…. i’ve been alone in Rome twice. Never had a problem…. but understand the concerns.

      The original plan was to rent two Dukati motorcycles and go for longer cruises along the French Riviera. The rental shop with those didn’t open on time, and failed to return calls, so we walked to another shop. The Vespas were grand fun! And yes, Studley and i travel very well together – having taken a few long trips, we have yet to have any serious disagreements or disconnects… It’s a blessing!

      i don’t blame Dee for not wanting to be an independent traveler. i DO wish she’d been more clear about needing some assistance… that would have helped avoid the disconnect…

  3. Projecting of trying to cope with someone who isn’t clear about their needs? Glad you all had a great time 🙂

    • You’re absolutely right – it was a bit of both! When she said “I’m terrified to do it alone” what i heard was “I want to learn to travel the way you guys do!” She was mindful from the beginning, assuring us that she didn’t want, or expect, to hang out with us for the entire trip – she planned a few excursions on her own in various ports. But a bit more direct communication would have led me to sit down with her BEFORE the trip and help her put together a solution that worked for her…

  4. It is weird that you didn’t see the signs, you usually pick up on those right away. She had to have given you an impression, at first anyway, that she was ok on her own. You are the type of adventurer I’d like to be one day. Thanks for sharing the details 🙂

    • She did repeatedly say she didn’t want to be a drag – that she would be happy doing things on her own, or with other friends along on the trip. But there were plenty of times when I could have gotten a big ol’ clue…

      It was only within the past 10 years that I’ve been traveling like this… never too late to pick it up! I’ve got a lot more to learn, too! After retirement, when i don’t have to worry about vacation leave? i’ll be gone for months at a time… that’s when it will get a bit more challenging, and also more fun!

  5. I would not be surprised if Dee struck out on her own after this.
    Love those Vespas! Pink n blue. Would I ride a Vespa round Rome or Cannes? Probably if I was following someone who knew the route!
    Next stop Turkey?

    • She might – i think she’s got a girlfriends trip planned for the fall… i would absolutely travel with her again, and would be ok now that i’ve got a better understanding of how she rolls!

      We got pretty lost on the way to St. Raphael – but keeping the sea somewhere to the left? We knew we’d eventually find our way somewhere… It took an hour to get there, and 20 minutes to get back once we figured out our mistake!

      Turkey in a few weeks! Let the summer adventures continue!

  6. We are all different and I’ve learned that traveling can highlight those differences. I love traveling but even as I write this I realize my traveling spirit has changed with age. Vespas in the Roma traffic – hmm could be too scary.

    • Traveling does bring out some potentially dormant behaviors… i like the old adage “You can tell a lot about someone by how they deal with rainy days and lost luggage.” There’s truth in that… Very fortunate that Studley and i travel well together. Perhaps it’s because we both started doing more adventurous travel once we connected….. so we sort of ‘grew up’ together…

    • i’ve got more tales from the trip, but just no time to write! Still sorting through pictures, too… Far too many to be useful. Life was somehow more simple when we used film, wasn’t it?

  7. Studley is brilliant! I liked how he worked that… and i understand that independence thing, i’ve been described as fiercely independent, probably to a fault at times… just back from own trip to a tropical island, funny post about scoring to follow…

    • He catches a lot of things that i miss… we’re compatible, but wired differently. i’m an extrovert – an 11 on a scale of 10. He’s a bit of an introvert… but a very social introvert who genuinely enjoys people…

      Glad you got off to the tropics again! With the cruise behind us, and the rest of our 2015 travel set, we’ve started booking our future tropical dive trips! i swear, my secret to survival is to always have something to look forward to – whether it’s a trip, or time with my spawn, a music festival, or whatever… i need to have things hanging out there in the future or i’m a mess…

    • Based on my ventures through the touristy areas, i’d have to say “Shove selfie sticks at strangers, sell cheap hats and pick pockets.” Not sure this was a good sample, however…

  8. “Give your confused, your dazed, your irresponsible, your individuals that favor being on the rectal aperture side and I can guarantee they’ll end up trying to organize something others will have to straighten out.” You may quote me – Sandy –

    • Ha! Quite true for most organized ventures! This one, in general, was fairly laid back, so no huge complaints. My next adventure? All the organizing is on me, so if it’s messed up? It was because of that lady in the mirror!

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