When I was in college, I had the notion I’d become a photojournalist, traveling the world – no roots, just me and my camera on assignment for National Geographic. I hadn’t been off the East Coast at that point, or even on a plane but I had an incredible wanderlust. It was an exciting prospect but, alas, one that was not to be. Oh, don’t feel sorry for me – it wasn’t like I was George Bailey, ready to go, steamer trunk in hand, when time and again something came up to thwart my plans. It was more lack of planning entirely on my part – a vague dream with no idea how to make it happen and plus, I really wasn’t all that skilled with a camera. And I didn’t have any money. Or a passport.
Then I thought I’d definitely travel with my family. I wouldn’t let the difficulties of traveling with kids hinder me – there was no reason in my mind a three-year-old couldn’t be just fine in Africa! Seriously, though… do you know how much it would cost to fly a three-year-old to Africa? A three-year-old who’s never going to remember the experience? Yeah, so that didn’t happen.
Now, numerous years later, we’ve finally come to a point where our kids are old enough to keep up with us and remember the trip, we have a little extra money set aside for traveling, passports are in hand. Airplane brawls be damned. The world is our oyster. We’re heading out, baby.
Except … we can’t decide where to go. No, seriously. There’s so many possibilities. I watch the Amazing Race. I want to scuba dive in the Maldives, roll cheese down a hill in Gloucestershire, and play roulette in Monte Carlo. So … many … choices.
Since we don’t know any other languages, perhaps we should consider somewhere English speaking at first. Or maybe we should stay stateside, and see some national parks before they’re all gone. Who knew how expensive flights can be? And why don’t any of those great Groupon deals include cheap airfare out of Raleigh? What if we get bumped and end up on the news? Who’s going to watch the dog? And take care of the bunnies? And the grass? Who’s going to water the grass while we’re gone?
Carefree Susan, meet neurotic Susan.
Over the weekend, my husband and I actually made some reservations after bouncing around between three very different destination possibilities. Non-refundable reservations. Then promptly had a joint panic attack and buyers remorse rolled into one, because our final choice, the one of which we were so certain, suddenly seemed wrong and weird and expensive. Was this really what we wanted to do?
Nevertheless, today’s APOD picture features one of the legs on our Amazing trip, and so I’ll take a deep breath and take that as a sign and we will just freaking go.
Because we have to. We may not have the money again. There may be a run on the bank and we’ll have to use our vacation funds to give to the customers so the bank examiner doesn’t close our doors (another It’s a Wonderful Life reference folks).
Our kids may be too old, too busy with school, and, if we wait too long, too busy traveling on their own. So, carpe diem. First world problems. Wish us luck! Come water our grass for us. When we return, we promise to bore everyone with our vacation pictures. And I will write about it all for National Geographic. Or for some other, less internationally acclaimed publication. Because you gotta start somewhere, right?