I have been planning this five-week trip for about four months I think. And now we are only one day away from starting off. I have been so looking forward to it but mindful to that once it starts, the days will go just as they did up to now.
But my mother used to say enjoy the journey as it’s happening and that’s what I intend to do. The biggest hurdle today? Choosing what to pack of course. Not too much and not too little. Be warm enough but not too warm and all that. The first part of the journey will be on the Queen Mary 2 so I have to take a few “fancy” clothes for our evening meals. Since R isn’t into tuxedos and such though we will be avoiding the main dining room on dress-up nights. Do I mind? Not really. I don’t care about dressing up anymore. So, casual smart for three nights and that’s that.
The other thing I need to do today is to make sure all necessary documents are printed out, hotel, plane and train vouchers. I also plan to write down the directions on how to get to our hotels from said stations. I found all that on Mapquest. It is truly amazing how much helpful technology exists. How did I find my way before that?
For example, on my first big trip, to Freeport in the Bahamas. I think we took either a bus or a taxi to the hotel. I think our hotel was on Lucaya Beach but, not having searched it for fifty years, I can’t recognize anything that would resemble it. Anyway, we went everywhere either by bus or by taxi so we didn’t have to worry about maps and such. And I didn’t even drive back then.
My next big trip was to the Yucatán and Cancun, about three years later. A friend from work, Marsha, had organized it all (those were the days when there were travel agents all over the place), so I just followed her lead. Planes, taxis and buses. A lot of hassle on that trip. I did enjoy seeing Merida in the Yucatán with its old colonial buildings and the ruins at Chichen Itza. And the beach at Cancun was very beautiful. But as usual back in those days, in my 20s, I didn’t have very much extra money and Marsha was more interested in going out to night spots and meeting men than I was. Still it was memorable.
A couple of years later I went on a bus trip for 25-30 year olds, “See Six Countries in Three Weeks.” We tented through those countries and I absolutely loved it. The people I traveled with were upbeat and fun, I had never seen Europe before so it was a wonderful introduction.
Two years later I went to South Africa to see a guy I had met the winter before in Montreal. That was quite the experience too, nothing what I was expecting about South Africa. Or about the guy. Still, nothing majorly awful happened to me and I have some very interesting memories.
About a year after that I decided to move to England. Lots of adventures and memories for those two and a half years I lived there. I moved back to Canada, to Ontario and over the next 19 years I made two trips back to England (one with toddler Laurie, one on my own) and numerous trips to the U.S. to see my sister. But my next major trip was when Laurie was 12 and we went to Hawaii with my dad, my sister and the rest of the family. That was special as it was the last trip we were all together; my sister died the following year.
When Laurie was 21, I took her to England and, with my friend Sheila we visited the places we had known both before Laurie was born and she was a baby. Then Laurie and I traveled up to Aberdeen so she could apply to a riding school there. She decided she wanted to work there so a few months later, off she went to Aberdeen. The next year (August to September 2001), R and I went to Scotland and for one week shared a cottage with Laurie and Sheila in Aberfeldy in the center of Scotland and for the next we traveled around the north of Scotland, seeing where my ancestors came from in Dingwall. We were then going to the Border country, to see the Scottish abbeys, when we learned about 9/11. Shocked, we nevertheless continued with our travels because we couldn’t go back to the States anyway. The Abbeys were beautiful, Lindisfarne was beautiful, the Scottish people were sympathetic but it is a bit of a blur. I actually started my first blog back then, on a website called worldisround.com but the website closed a few years later. Really too bad because my photos were on that website and I don’t have the originals anymore. Lesson learned, I keep copies of all my photos now on thumb drives.
The following year R and I went to Provence for 10 days. Wonderful holiday, it was off season (March) so the Provençal villages were quiet, the weather was cool but sunny. The mas we stayed at was picturesque and comfortable; we were even able to have a water coloring class with our hostess. Happy memories.
Laurie had her wedding that year and for awhile we didn’t have extra money for traveling. So it was several years before we went off overseas again. Quite a few years actually. I think the next time we went, we traveled on the Queen Mary 2, in November, to England to visit Sheila. A cold, wet trip but we still had fun in a cottage in Devon. Oh, I think a year before that I went on my own over to Ireland for the first time. A short trip, thinking I would try to find information about my family in Cavan. I wasn’t really sure about what I was doing though–I saw the town where my family had lived but didn’t learn much. Over the years since then, I have gone back to Ireland several times, lived there of course (see valretire.blogspot.com for those stories) and I am fairly good at understanding family history. Of course, genealogy has mushroomed since then and there are so many more things online.
Anyway, so that’s my travel review in a nutshell. My plan for this trip is to blog offline as it may be difficult to write online. And then, if I get a good signal, I will publish the blog. Complete with photos I hope. We shall see.