With the weather seasonably comfortable in the fall, the time of year for short-term travel approaches. November and December are busy times to go places, celebrate holidays and visit family and friends.
Taking time to consider your travel using an Elderyarding® approach can help you stay calm and safe and can enrich your visit.
If you are staying with family:
· Stay alert for uneven walking surfaces outside the home. If you have offered to handle any outdoor chores, study the “lay of the land” before working. Notice where obstacles like steps in dark corners, missing porch lights, or gravel-covered slopes will make it challenging to go out at dawn for the newspaper or to move the trash can to the curb. Offer suggestions for change or enlist the help of young relatives like grandchildren.
· Allow yourself time to relax and enjoy nature right outside the house. Look for pops of color in flowers and leaves; pay attention to plant texture contrasts. Take pleasure in these as new experiences, even if what you see is something you’d never put in your own yard. Enjoy them for being different.
· Investigate the residential area. What materials and colors comprise most homes? Are you seeing white stucco or red brick where you see creamy limestone at home? What do the landscapes here look like? Do many people include the same plants or use similar color combinations in their yards?
If you are staying in a hotel:
· Again, it’s very important to notice walking surfaces. Commercial developments often use unique paving to designate where to walk or drive, and some of these surfaces are less-than-friendly. Individual pavers can have rounded edges with joints just wide enough to catch the toe or a high heel if you’re shuffling a bit with sore feet or tired legs.
· Check out new plant materials around the hotel. They always have fascinating landscaping, especially near entrances, to catch your attention. How they are using plants to draw your eye and guide you, or to deliberately screen something functional such as the heating unit.
· While you wouldn’t criticize a family member’s yard, in a commercial property, you can evaluate to your heart’s content. Take a close look at their outdoor maintenance. Do plants look healthy, not thirsty and not drowning in water? Are they well-shaped or do they need to be trimmed back from walkways and parking? And, are there clear paths and lighting in the parking areas? Do the walkways include seating for rest stops? Or, as shown in the photo at the top of this post, are edging walls wide enough and the right height to use for seating?
As you explore a new city or country during the holidays:
· Go even further in noticing how landscapes are handled by studying roadsides and highway plantings. In southern California, for example, you can find succulents like iceplant and tropical shrubs like oleander. These make the roadways look very different from what you might see at home in Texas or Pennsylvania.
· Then look for plant shapes, colors and textures that are similar. Even with a short stay, what can you find that helps you to feel at home because there is something familiar about the landscape.
Remember, wherever you go, there you are.
Have a fabulous time seeing, smelling, hearing and touching new landscapes to stay unstressed and connected with nature as you run short travel sprints in the November-January period. And think about what ideas you want to bring home for your Elderyard® to keep the visits in your memory. Even if the same plants don't grow in your home climate, the arrangements or color combinations and contrasts can be used as reminders.
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