Balcony Arizona view
Aging and Wisdom,  That's Life,  THOUGHTS,  Travel reports

Traveling Day to Arizona- A tough task for Seniors


Balcony Arizona view
A view from our balcony in Arizona


We arrived in beautiful, sunny Scottsdale, Arizona last Wednesday. The lack of sleep the night before we left with trying to get to sleep much earlier than we were used to wound up being a fitful 3 hours sleep, knowing that alarm clock was ready to go off at 4am.

Dragging ourselves and baggage through the airport begins our early day. I have become the schlepper of the luggage now for me and my husband. Despite his age, he’d always been strong and took care of the heavy lifting, but with all the illness he’s suffered in past years, his age has caught up with him; muscles diminished, his pace once many steps ahead of mine now lag behind me.

Traveling seems to be getting more difficult with every new trip. Airlines give you less and charge you more. The once upon a time joy and ease of travel has become a methodically planned regime. With each consequent trip there’s a new change or rule from the airlines.

It wasn’t so long ago the airlines began offering us to print out our boarding passes at home, giving those who’ve done so, priority checking in line. This is no longer good enough, we now have to check in to a computer kiosk first, bags in tow, to print out our own airline destination tags before entering the check in line. It appears that the people behind the check in counter no longer have anything to do but check your passport and count you in.

This trip I discovered, they no longer take our bags at check in and weigh them, or do we cart them through the long US custom lines before getting to baggage drop off where an airline employee is there to lift the bags onto the belt. No, now we follow the check in rules and drag our bags a few meters to a new post, the newfangled x-ray machine belts. This is where you lift your own bags onto the machine and it electronically weighs and measures your bag’s dimensions before it even begins to move. That’s if you can lift your bags on yourself, otherwise you may be SOL, hoping someone will come along to lift them for you.

I gathered up my 2 hour sleep strength to lift 3, 50 pound bags and couldn’t help but wonder how the elderly can travel without someone younger or stronger to, first figure out the electronic requirements of checking in, then to summon the strength to lift their bags. I was reminded of how much I missed my husband’s once strong arms to do the heavy lifting.

After that workout, we were off to go through US customs, then through security – getting practically undressed and re-dressed while placing shoes, hats, jackets, purses, computers, and what not onto the belt. The last hurdle came when boarding the plane with having to once again lift the two carry-on bags into the overhead bin. That was another test of my physical strength. I was feeling my age. If you’re lucky, a decent human being seeing a damsel in distress with her aged husband might offer a hand, but not on that trip.

My husband watched me with adoration in his eyes and I could feel the sadness in his heart knowing he was no longer the hero who looked after such matters. I smiled at him knowingly and said, “It’s my turn now Hon, I’m the man. I got this.” In my own heart I ached for all those times we traveled together and he took the reins; the days I shamelessly took for granted.

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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.


  • Tina Frisco

    Aaw Deb, I feel such empathy for you and George. The drawbacks of aging can certainly challenge our emotions as well as our bodies. I’m glad you’re resting up and enjoying your favorite place on Earth, and hopefully forgetting about the woes of air travel ~ at least for a little while ?

    • dgkaye

      Thanks my sweet friend. Yes, it can be eye opening when you live with someone for so long and don’t notice the tiny day to day changes which suddenly creep up and remind you in certain moments. It’s amazing how some of the things we take for granted become significant later in life. <3 We're enjoying every moment. <3 xo :)

  • Robin O. Cochran

    I was comforted by your kind words about my work accident. I’ll be 62 in fall and there is a sad disrespect for those who are worn out in many areas of the public, as well as jobs. So sorry about your not getting assistance at airport, Debby.
    Hopefully, you and hubby will have a great time in Arizona. Do you ever meet up with Luanne Castle? (Doll God poet) take it easy and xo Robin

    • dgkaye

      Thank you so much Robin. I hope you are on the mend. Sadly, you are right in many aspects about respect. We are having a lovely time and sometimes just doing nothing but relaxing at the pool with a good book is just what the doctor ordered!
      No, I wasn’t even familiar with Luanne. Thanks Robin. <3 :)

  • D. Wallace Peach

    Lovely post, Debby. I giggled a bit at your luggage (a memory back to Have Bags Will Travel), but the tone is more wistful than that. Getting older is tough, something I too can attest to. Lots of little losses that force us into different roles and into thinking about ourselves in new and uncomfortable ways. Some good ways too – deeper compassion and care for each other, and a recognition of the preciousness of a lifetime of love. <3

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much Diana. You captured the essence of this post. Life is a circle they say, what goes round comes back again – life lessons. 🙂 <3

  • Christy B

    You are so good to one another, you and your hubby. I hope to have that same love with someone as I get older. Enjoy time relaxing when you get back home xx

    • dgkaye

      Aw thanks Christy. I have no doubts your prince charming will arrive at the most unexpected moment and you will get the love you so deserve. For now, enjoy your young years and do whatever your heart desires.
      I’m in beautiful Arizona now enjoying every moment of the beauty. <3 xo

  • olganm

    It’s getting to be more and more of a hindrance. As I don’t tend to know when I’m coming and going these days, taking the car isn’t a good option, so trying to get to the airport through changing trains, dragging suitcases half around England and everything else… (I don’t have a knight in shining armour next to me and I’ve never had one…). Perhaps we’ll all end up buying an RV so we can take everything with us… Take care and enjoy your holidays

  • Aui V.

    Your post is an eye opening for me. My husband will be turning 60 this July and I am 45. I was imagining how it would be for us on the days to come. In fact many times I was considering to study driving. I don’t drive, it’s just him who did it all for me.
    But as our friend here says, that’s marriage. It is always wise to appreciate and be grateful for our partner everyday. And one more thing, to travel light 🙂

  • Hugh's Views and News

    Manners seem to have gone out of the door these days, Debby. I don’t know what it is with people being rude and not going to the aid of somebody who is struggling. I was always taught by my parents to be polite and to help those that may need it. The most important thing, though, is that George and you have many happy years of love and being best friends. ❤️ That’s the best thing.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much Hugh for your beautiful comment. So true, old school trumps new rules. Now I’ll just have to keep my muscles in good working order, especially if I’m coming alone to England, lol. Hopefully we’re not a dying breed and others will catch on to compassion and courtesy. <3
      (PS, I got an email to subscribe to your new newsletter, it came to my 'personal' email and wouldn't allow me to subscribe. Could you please send it again to my gmail so I can subscribe. <3 :) )

      • Hugh's Views and News

        Ignore that email, Debby. I was looking at starting a Nuzzel Newsletter, but I slapped myself twice as I don’t have the time to look after yet another social media platform. I’ve also come off LinkedIn as I hardly ever use it. All these tiny bits of time will soon mount up so I can work on those social media accounts that are working for me.
        Hope you’re both having a great vacation in sunny Arizona. ??

        • dgkaye

          Lol, you are too funny Hugh. No wonder it came up an error page. I thought because it was my email, lol. And I don’t blame you. That’s why I keep my once a week newsletter, strictly to send out my weekly posts for those who’ve missed them. I don’t have the time to orchestrate newsletters at this point either, but at least I have the option to do so when I’m ready.
          It’s a beautiful sunny, hot day here today. We’re off to an art festival. 🙂 Happy weekend! 🙂 <3 xo

  • Sue Dreamwalker

    I so know this feeling Debby.. Airline travelling is no longer simple.. My hubby and I would travel twice a year up to recently.. It becomes a pain with all the undressing, and rules.. I know its for safety. But its no longer a pleasant journey.. My own worries were when we pull our cases off the belts at the end.. Such a scrabble of people pushing…

    Its good we are off to Scotland again his May.. A coach tour where some lovely people take care of all the heavy lifting and we do not see our cases once on the coach until we are in our rooms in the hotel where they are delivered.. Old ages also has its advantages lol..
    Enjoy your Hols Debby.. The Sun has been shining here for a change today and I managed to get in the garden.. 🙂
    Hugs and Enjoy..
    Sue xx x

    • dgkaye

      Oh wonderful Sue that you’re going back to Scotland. I think perhaps coach is the way to go, easier on the muscles too.
      The sun is shining here Sue, just a gift to see sunshine, let alone be out in it all day, so inspiring! So glad you are getting some of it yourself now too. Glad to hear you’re already in the garden!!! Big hugs my friend. 🙂 xoxo

  • Sarah Brentyn

    You had me at “4 am” and “3 hours sleep”. No. Thank you. Gah! Well, good for you, lady. I can barely lift luggage onto those belts and I pack…light? Or at least not heavy. And I’m ALWAYS one of the people stopped by customs. I mean, honestly! 😉 I must look shifty or something.

    You are the “woman!” You got this. ?

    • dgkaye

      Lol, I guess this means, you and I would be trouble together at an airport! Ya, now I have to squeeze in more gym time to keep my travel muscles in shape! 🙂 🙂 <3

  • John Maberry

    Growing old is not for sissies, as the saying goes. Juanita and I know that all too well. The new body is always on back order so there’s no relief in sight for that. But on a less humorous note, it’s always a wonderful thing hearing about the love, compassion and empathy that goes along with growing old together in a strong and happy marriage.

    Back to the funnies–ever wonder about the connection between lugging and luggage? Seems kind of obvious when you think about it. Our return through Vancouver from our Alaska trip went much the same way as yours from Toronto. The airline did nearly nothing at the counter. We had to get in a roped line that if straight would have been at least half a mile. Then to get to the the one operating conveyor (of four) and lift our own bags. NOTE: if you’re willing to pay a skycap, THEY can and will take it to the front of the line and put it on the belt. At least that’s how it worked in Vancouver. You are free to go through the rigors of customs.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks for sharing that John. Lol, you got a taste of our system. We also didn’t pay for the extra leg room seats we had to and from Florida, big mistake. That legroom when you’re younger is a nice luxury, but for hubby’s legs it’s become a necessity as he paid a price the next day with cramps in his legs. It doesn’t seem to end does it? No wonder I’m writing a new book on aging, lol. 🙂

  • adeleulnais

    Oh, Debby I sympathise. I hadn’t flown for years until my daughter and me went back to Dublin last year. With my stick, hampering everyone, I tried to keep up with the endless lines and then the taking off of shoes, etc. It was exhausting. The last straw, which left me laughing rather than fuming, was when they swabbed my stick. “Why are you doing that?” I asked. “In case you’ve handled explosives.” I know it’s needed but I laughed to myself and it made the whole thing easier.

    • dgkaye

      You are so right Adele; sometimes we just have to laugh, don’t we? If we want to get anywhere, we have to grin and bite it. I guess I’m not done yet, so I’ll bite away, lol. 🙂 <3

  • Judy E Martin

    I can’t believe nobody offered to help you! What a shame that good manners seem to have gone out the window!
    It must have been a pretty tough realisation for both you and your husband when you had to swap roles with the luggage. The aging process certainly holds some unpleasant surprises!

  • Kate Johnston

    I used to love to travel, but these days, it seems like so much work. My husband, kids, and I are going to England this summer, and I’m already anxious about the trip. Once we get there, it’ll be fine, it’s just the *getting there* that will be a royal pain!

    Sweet post, Debby!

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Kate. I know what you mean, well. But just concentrate on the part where you’re already there, lol, that’s what I do to prevent focusing on the traveling part. 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much for reading. Yes, we had the first two days of a rough go but he’s doing much better now. We are thoroughly enjoying the R & R. 🙂

  • elainemansfield

    Sad, exhausting, and oh so sweet. I hope the Scottsdale trip is worth it now that you’ve arrived. Now that I’m on my own, I travel less, travel light, and don’t hesitate to ask for help. My hearing loss means I often need help to figure out a gate or time change if it isn’t posted–which happens often enough. Loud speaker announcements are Greek (or Chinese or Syrian) to me. Traveling with a sick person is so difficult. I hope your trip home is easy with lots of helpers around.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Elaine for your lovely travel wishes. I so understand what you mean about traveling less and lighter, especially when much of the load is on me. Right now I’m enjoying every moment. I will have to rethink strategies for next year’s destination. 🙂

  • Ann Fields

    A poignant reminder of how time changes circumstances and people…not always for the better. Also a great reminder of how the give and take process is cyclical. We each have a chance to give and to take. How kind and fair of the Universe to set it up so. Enjoy your travels.

  • Norah

    It’s definitely changing times, isn’t it. To think you can board a flight without having had human contact is unnerving enough for me, a confident computer user. How difficult it must be for those less familiar. Though there are still a few employees “floating” around our airports to assist. Getting old or being unwell is not as much fun as being young and healthy, but I’m still pretty sure it beats the alternative. It takes a little getting used to though, and some serious readjustment.

  • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC

    I doubt that things will change as long as people continue to travel. Anymore, it seems, “follow the money” is all that counts. A college student here, btw, told me that one reason that the young and strong don’t step up is that they are waiting to be asked – afraid to offend anyone in politically correct America by assuming they need help. Something to consider.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    • dgkaye

      Thanks for sharing that Madelyn. I agree, I don’t think travel rules will get easier, but this politically correct stuff is sometimes ridiculous. xo

  • Liesbet

    I agree. The days that flying was fun are long gone. Add security hassles, long immigration lines and originating in another country to the mix and those trips are not only painful, mentally and physically, but very taxing in other ways as well. Big sigh, now that you have arrived and are enjoying your time in Arizona! 🙂

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