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Ask Amy: You are the travel agent of your own life

Dear Amy: I love to travel. It’s almost an obsession, and age (I’m over 80) has not dulled my desire to GO. I had a good job and saved so that I could travel a lot in retirement.
My husband, however, has lost a lot of his wanderlust, and will only go if I beg and plead.
To keep us both happy, I take one or two trips a year by myself. I have learned to enjoy being alone for a couple of weeks without having to worry about anyone else and what THEY might want to do.
I’m happy to get home at the end of each trip, because I do miss my husband after time away.
My problem is with girlfriends who keep asking to come with me.
At my age, a large portion of my girlfriends are either divorced or widowed.
I like all of them or they wouldn’t be my friends – but there are very few that I’d want to travel and be with for a couple of weeks.
Some are inclined to be negative, some talk all the time (I read in the evening), and many complain a lot about their health issues.
What do I say to stop this constant haranguing?
We are currently away, and I invited one very easy-going lady, with whom I’ve been friends since the age of three, to join us for part of the trip.
I posted a picture of the three of us on FB, and one woman was so upset that SHE hadn’t been invited, that she canceled a visit with her that I had planned long ago.
Should I just stop talking about upcoming travels?
– S
Dear S: Overall, it is unwise to post about your travels – while you are away. There are many practical reasons for this (the first being that you should not telegraph the fact that you are away from your home). Being discreet about your travels would also spare you from the burden of your friends’ hurt feelings.
Savvy people save their social media posts for after they’ve returned home, unpacked their bags, and edited their photos.
You should not let people guilt you into including them on your travels. (You should also not guilt your husband into joining you if he doesn’t want to go.)
You are not a tour guide. You are the travel agent of your own life.
If you sincerely believe that people are “constantly haranguing” you, then you should tell them, “I’m firm about this, so I wish you’d stop asking,” but you need to understand that people have the right to ask anything of you. You might have to say, “No, that wouldn’t work for me,” every single time.
You might suggest to these friends that they should consider booking a tour or a cruise and travel together.
Road Scholar is a nonprofit organization organizing tours and experiences for elders. You might recommend this to your circle of eager travelers (roadscholar.org).
Dear Amy: My older sister is very successful and kind. She has a habit that makes me feel very resentful, however.
Whenever she acquires a new piece of furniture, she pawns off her old stuff on me. Many of the things she has dropped off at my (rental) house were things that were pawned off on her back in the day.
I came home from work recently only to be greeted by a 40-year-old floral Barcalounger that we have all hated and made fun of for decades. I swear it was just sitting in my garage.
My sister behaves as if she is doing me a favor, but I have everything I want and need.
What should I do?
– Not Sitting Pretty
Dear Not Sitting: You could play this out by photoshopping the Barcalounger in various settings (a meadow, a forest, a beach) and texting your sister taunting photos about how this chair is now living its best life – but not with you.
You could post it on Freecycle or Facebook, or call your local Goodwill (or another donation/resale site) and ask them to put it on their pickup schedule. Someone else will be grateful that this monster is still in circulation.
Dear Amy: As someone named Debbie, I believe it is a blight on all Debbie’s, Deb’s, Debra’s, and Deborah’s everywhere for you to refer to them as a “Debby Downer!”
It is quite upsetting that you would allow and encourage this in your column.
Kindly rescind.
– Disappointed Debbie
Dear Debbie: I’m officially rescinding. Also canceling my T-shirt order.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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