Here it is – part 2 of our Scotland adventure. If you missed part 1, check it out here!
I want to answer some questions I’ve been getting about the trip –
What surprised you about Scotland?
How green it is. And how seemingly rural. I had just expected that a place inhabited for so long would have more sprawling development. I really loved the way that Glasgow and Edinburgh in particular are walkable, and have easily accessible transit. North America could learn some lessons here.
What expectations did you have about this trip?
To be honest, this was my first time traveling with family since my wedding. During my wedding process, Mat and I flew together alone, and were together almost the entire time. The last time that I traveled with my grandmother, I think I was eleven. We went to Disney in Florida with my sister.
So, all this to say that this was my very first trip alone with a single family member other than my husband.
I don’t think I had any specific expectations, other than the acknowledgement that I might have to slow my regular lightning pace a little. I knew I had over-booked us on day trips a little bit. Asking an octogenarian to keep pace for city exploration and multiple day trips isn’t exactly fair. Mind you, she did!
Did it worry you to spend so much time just the two of you? What if you disagreed?
Everyone disagrees. It is really inevitable. I think we both went into this knowing that there would be times when grandma might want to rest, and that she wouldn’t be a pub crawl partner (thankfully, I ran into others who were willing to indulge in the night life with me a little bit!) Know your audience, right? And if you’re truly travelling to enjoy each other, you’ve already conceded that there will be some give and take.
For example, I wanted to climb Arthur’s Seat, and Grandma had no intention of accompanying me. As long as you’re both OK with parting ways briefly, and doing a couple of things on your own, everyone checks their must-sees off their lists, and nobody does anything they would rather not.
If I had been ten years younger, this might not have worked out so well. I would definitely have stayed up later and been out longer. This was really the perfect timing for us to embark on this journey. I can’t think of a better way than travel to take any relationship to the next level.
What surprised you about traveling alone with your grandma?
That even into your eighties, it is possible to see the world with fresh eyes, be willing to take on a challenge, and to laugh off the small stuff. Maybe that stuff gets easier with age, as you stop giving as many fucks about who you offend and just do you.
My grandma impresses and inspires me every day. I hope to have half of her energy, flexibility, eagerness to learn, grow and explore if and when I am fortunate enough to be her age.
How did you end up in Beaumont Hospital?
Because no trip is complete without a mishap or some drama…
We took an overnight flight from Toronto to Glasgow, with a connection in Dublin. I was a bit hesitant to book a flight that connected on the back end because of the sleep schedule screw up. Anyway, we were well into the trip, dinner had been served and Grandma was watching Outlander reruns. I decided to try to sleep.
I was awoken by my grandmother tapping my arm. She said she was going to be ill. I offered to help her to the bathroom (she was in the aisle seat), but she didn’t feel well enough to get up. I alerted the flight attendant as Grandma filled a couple of bags…
I have to say, the staff at Aer Lingus were incredible. Grandma was given oxygen for probably 45 minutes or more, and when Grandma was still unable to get up or stop… uhh, filling bags… they arranged to have an ambulance meet us directly on the tarmac.
A long story short, we spent some jet lagged early hours of the Friday morning in the hospital while Grandma received anti-nausea medication and fluids.
I have nothing but praise first for the doctors and numerous staff taking excellent care of Grandma at and on the way to Beaumont Hospital, but also for Aer Lingus. Their staff went above and beyond the call of duty. I wish I could remember the name of the flight attendants, but I think I tweeted them at the time!
If I recall correctly, we arrived in Dublin somewhere between 5 and 6 a.m. At 11 or so a.m., we were ready to be discharged and get on our merry way. I don’t know whether the airline was in touch with the hospital or not, but conveniently as we were in a taxi on our way back to the airport, Aer Lingus called to let us know that they can arrange for us to be on the next flight – that would be boarding within the hour! Oh, and “don’t worry about your bags. We’re making sure they’re taken care of.” Talk about convenient.
We were safely arrived in Glasgow and into our hotel before 3, barely missing a beat! Grandma had no more issues with motion sickness for the rest of the trip, and we went on to have a fantastic trip of a lifetime.
Have you ever had a medical emergency on a trip? Tell us the story!