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VOL. 132 | NO. 129 | Thursday, June 29, 2017

June Travel Is The Worst

Lance Wiedower

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My love-hate relationship with late spring travel all started with a trip to England.

I had just finished my junior year of college and spent several weeks in Britain, mostly in the English countryside but a few days each in London and Paris. I had never traveled out of the American South, so this trip was a shock to the system.

Yes, I suppose, my uncultured and somewhat close-minded way of life was awakened in Europe. That trip changed me, even if it took a couple of years to fully take hold.

But the actual shock to the system was leaving the American South during May, when the brutal summer hasn’t quite taken over. Temperatures in the 70s and low 80s haven’t yet given over to brutal steam baths of high humidity and 95 degrees. But it seems every time I travel around Memorial Day it’s to somewhere with pleasant weather, only to return home to stifling heat.

That first visit to Europe in the late spring of 1998 – and several during the late weeks of May and early weeks of June since then – have opened my eyes to the need for a jacket. The only May/June Europe “heat wave” I’ve experienced was five years ago in the Scottish Highlands. I expected 50s and 60s with rain and instead had sunny skies and 70 degrees. It was brutal.

Well, we just returned home from 10 days exploring parts of the Mediterranean coast – from Barcelona and Spain’s Costa Brava to France’s beautiful Provence and Riviera, passing through Monaco and finishing in Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

Again, the weather was beautiful. We took a dip in the sea in each country; the water was chilly, but the warm sun created a beautiful balance.

Yes, hiking the steep lanes of the ancient Vernazza – seemingly dropped gently into the side of an Italian cliff along the sea – was brutal, even in mid-70s. But this June visit to Europe – like the three prior – helped me temporarily forget how hot and muggy the weather in Memphis was getting while we were away.

Oh, but we returned. And in the couple of weeks we’ve been back, I can’t tell you how miserable I am in this Memphis heat. For most Memphians, June hasn’t been out of the ordinary (other than a few power outages).

In years past I’ve made other questionable travel decisions in May and June: Baltimore, Toronto, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Chicago and Wisconsin. Actually, six or seven years ago I spent a mid-June weekend in Chicago wearing jeans and a hoodie all weekend.

I have it all backwards. I should save those cooler destinations for August when I need a real break from the heat and can return home knowing there’s only a few more weeks remaining of the painful heat.

I think next June I’ll consider a trip to Arizona. Those 100-degree days will be tough to handle, but it will make me rejoice at a humid 88-degree afternoon in Memphis.

Of course it might be too hot for the plane to take off, then I’ll be stuck in Arizona. I guess my misery will never end.

Lance Wiedower can be reached at tripsbylance.com.

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