Glutton for Punishment

As this is to be a post about my next vacation destinations, I shall ask a question first–where would you most like to see us go next?  In keeping with my previous offer to write ‘This Place Sucks’ travel guides, feel free to suggest places that I’d hate, and tell me why I’d hate them–or why reading about my being there would be knee-slappingly funny.

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I have no idea when the urge to travel hit me.  By all accounts it should never have happened, given my extremely bad travel track record early on in life.  Just today at my father’s birthday dinner, we told my husband the story of our first–and only–big family vacation: a trip on a Disney ‘Big Red Boat’ Cruise that started out sailing through a tropical storm (yes, it was red, and yes, it was a boat, but no, it was not big.  It wasn’t even medium!)  Even the entertainers on board were sick–I was only ten, but I specifically remember standing in line for the infirmary behind women wearing sequined leotards and feathered hats.

But the more I think about it–and trust me, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my travel dreams since we returned from this last trip–the more I realize how much travel has been a part of my life for many, many years.  I am who I am today because of the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met along the way.  From road trips to hippie music festivals, to weeks spent on mountains at various spiritual gatherings, to yet more weeks on different mountains (and one island) writing and learning, I’ve gone many places.  And I’ve gone to each place with a purpose.  To dance, to meet people, to expand my understanding of the world and myself, to advance a hobby or a career, or to celebrate our honeymoon (er, honeymoons–we took two).

I’ve not yet determined the purpose of this last trip.  I didn’t start out with one–other than a blanket ‘I want to see the world’ statement.  It served many purposes, though none were planned, and I’m sure in the years to come I will discover more and more things I learned from that trip.  But it didn’t start out as a quest.  Hell–even reading back in this blog, I can’t find any reason I had to take the trip, other than ‘because I could’.  And maybe that’s what I was going for.  I’d never really gone anywhere just for the hell of it before–and I never thought I ‘could’ go to Europe.  So I went.  And I’m glad I did.  And, as I’ve said several times, I’m even more glad that I’m home.

Yet, despite many of the things I wrote about our most recent trip, I’m not ready to throw in the travel towel just yet.  In fact, I have several trips I’d like to do in the near future, some that I’m sure of and some that are still in the ‘google and dream’ stage.  My new purpose for travel?  To have fun.  That has to be at the top of the list, at least for a while.  What the Europe trip lacked in ‘fun factor’ will more than be made up for in future trips.  And I’m sure, after all of that fun, at some point in the not too distant future, I’ll stop and say something like ‘damn, I sure could go for a metro ride to a crowded museum!’

So without further ado, here’s my list of future travel destinations.  What are some of yours?

San Francisco–This is a definite, not a maybe, and soon.  My oldest friend has lived there for MANY years (Man, how many has it been?  Seven?  Eight?) and I’ve not gone out to see her.  I am going out to see her as soon as possible (as in ‘was pricing flights for next Sunday–sadly, I don’t think that’s going to work out, but it is going to work out sometime before the new year, damnit!)

Orlando–This is a maybe, and the one that breaks the ‘to have fun’ purpose.  The NCTE convention is in Orlando this year.  My husband is going, and there’s a chance I can go with him.  I will have fun here–I had fun at the convention in Philly last year–but the nature of a convention means that learning has to be priority number one.  And no, I’ll not be visiting Disney.  I shudder at the thought.  (Though, to be fair, simply writing that down here means I’ll likely come back with a Mickey Mouse tattoo and a Disney timeshare!)

Jamaica–Also a definite, and very specific.  This coming May, my husband and I are going to Sandals Ocho Rios for the wedding of my friend (and former maid of honor).  I never thought we’d go to a Sandals, or to Jamaica, or on vacation during the school year–but I guess that’s one of the reasons why you have friends!

Some sort of Cruise–Either Southern Caribbean or Bermuda, some time next summer.  I like cruises, say what you will about germs and small cabins (those things are all true).  They are relaxing and fun, and as those are my priorities right now, I’m admitting to being a person who likes cruising.  Hello, my name is Tracy, and I like cruising.

Road Trip–New England and Eastern Canada, ideally next summer as well.  This is the trip we started planning for this summer, before everything got out of control.

Montana–My husband’s cousin was there recently, and I saw one picture on my sister-in-law’s phone, and I’m determined to go there.  Take that, Alps!  (Though I’d love to go to Switzerland, too…see below.)

The Grand Canyon–We’ve been to Vegas two summers in a row now, and we’re ready to take a break.  Each time we’ve gone, I’ve listed ‘see the Grand Canyon’ as one of the top things I wanted to do–and we’ve not done it yet.  So our next trip in that direction will be specifically to the Grand Canyon, and maybe Sedona.  I’m thinking this won’t be for a few years, but who knows?

Future Europe Trip(s)–In the distant future, I’d like to return to the UK and spend more time in the countryside, somehow working Scotland into a large part of that plan.  Switzerland is at the top of my list–I could spend two weeks walking through Alpine villages with nary a church or museum in sight (and lots of trees upon which I can openly pee)  We’ve already looked at cruises (yes, again) with titles involving the word ‘Viking’ that visit Iceland and Scandinavia.  That’s always been my ideal trip, and my husband’s number one Europe request was ‘something with fjords’.  And of course, I’d never turn down a return trip to Amsterdam, and will henceforth try to work it in to any future trip we will ever take to that continent.  Fortunately for us, many UK and Scandinavian cruises leave from or end up there, so I’m sure we will be back.

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8 responses to “Glutton for Punishment

  1. If you like crusies, consider an Alaskan cruise. We did one (many years ago) and loved it. We went on a Holland-America ship. You get the “resort” feel of the ship and the countryside/ruggedness of the Alaskan wilderness. Choose a ship from one of the more top-of-the-line companies, though. Alaska is not a place skrimp on. Holland-America, Royal Carribean, etc are excellent.

    • We did one many years ago, too–for our honeymoon. Actually, the photo in the header was taken from the back of the ship leaving port in Sitka. We loved it for exactly the reason you described–the combination of rugged natural beauty and the resort-style luxury on board. We went with Celebrity, and would sail with them again, though I have to admit to liking the Holland America and NCL cruise lines as well. I think cruising can be so much more than what some people make it–we saw so many people just get off the boat to shop, and even on cruise line websites they tout ‘all of the shopping opportunities’ at each port. We hiked out of town and into the forest in Sitka, and in Juneau we booked a glacier trek with an independent tour group–it was the best and most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Even at our last port–Ketchikan–we spent the entire day walking as far away from the ship as possible, and that was after a night spent in the ship’s emergency room in anaphylactic shock (a honeymoon cruise to Alaska is a bad time to discover you are allergic to prawns!)

  2. Hi Tracy, since you love the outdoors Charlottesville, Va., would be a great place for you to vacation. There are so many places to hike in the Shenandoah National Park. There is a fantastic
    pedestrain called The Downtown Mall, all brick walk ways lots of little shopes, cafes and restaurants with outside seating. It’s were Uiversity of Virginia is, walking on campus is so peaceful and lovely. If you wanted to could visit Thomas Jefferson’s home, James Madison’s home and James Monroe’s home. Robin

    • Robin–that sounds perfect for a long weekend! Actually, I was looking for a last minute, end of summer, hurry up before school starts weekend trip, possibly over Labor Day weekend (but wanted to avoid the crowds at the beach) That sounds ideal! Thanks for the great tip–I’m checking out hotels right now! (yes, I fully admit I have a problem!)

      • I’m sure you will enjoy Charlottesville if you get down there. Our youngest daughter lives there, I love going down. Looking forward to our long weekend in October. Oh, one big thing I forgot…….there are some great wineries there so you can go wine tasting. A couple goods ones are….Kluge Estate Winery, Jefferson Vineyard (these two are close together), then a little north is Keswick Vineyards, Horton Cellars and they aren’t to far fro each other.

      • oops, should be to far from each other.

  3. Tracy, since we chatted on the Helpline, I’ve been following your Blog to some extent. Sorry to hear that your trip to Europe didn’t turn out as well as expected. In reading over your comments, I’ve been trying to understand why your holiday didn’t work out as planned, but I still haven’t reached any conclusions. Hopefully you had time to read at least a few of the entries in my Blog. While my trip also didn’t turn out completely according to my precisely laid plans, I enjoyed every minute of it and can hardly wait to go back. Hopefully you’ll decide to give Europe another try in future. Cheers!

    • Ken–I was reading it at the beginning, and I just now took some time (ok–a lot of time–I have a lot of time now that I’m not planning my trip anymore!) reading over the rest of it. I see what you mean about your plans not going perfectly (it seems you had some airport issues–I hate airports and can totally relate), but it does seem that you got what you wanted out of it–including some amazing pictures! The ones of Italy in particular are stunning, and had I not sworn to avoid Europe for at least 365 days, I’d be looking up flights right now, based on your photos alone! I’m sure I will eventually give Europe another try–likely on some sort of cruise (I already have three I like picked out for next summer–in August, so ALMOST 365 days from our return this year…) And I know why my trip didn’t work out as planned–because I thought about all of the wrong things. I thought about what I ‘should’ be doing, instead of what I really, really wanted to do. I really, really wanted to go to Switzerland and hike from little village to little village. That’s what I should have done, and what I will do in the future (after my Viking Voyages cruise I have my heart set on). Thanks for reading and commenting– I hope your future trips are as enjoyable as your last!

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