Training for the Trip of a Lifetime

2012-03-04 12.21.16Well, its been a while since I have posted. I guess life got in the way. To be honest, there were some really exciting travels that have been filling up my mental hard drive. I plan to catch up on those soon, but we all know its not quite the same if you wait to write it all down. The best travel stories are best recorded when they are still fresh in your mind, when you can still taste the flavors and the aromas have fragranced your clothes.

I miss writing daily, but I find it especially difficult to take the time when I am not traveling alone. Perhaps when there is someone else to talk to, the need to decompress into my journals diminishes. For so many years, my journal was my confidant, my therapist, sometimes my only friend. I admit that I know that regular journalling is good for my health, somehow it just keeps me sane. But on the upside, when I do recall my adventures from the past couple years, I have a second pair of eyes, ears and memory to draw upon. In fact, my stories may be that much more accurate and well rounded by having another perspective. Luckily Michael is a photographer so I have that added resource. But deep down, I know that the best stories will be etched in my memory forever. Those are the moments I want to share, the ones that have changed me are timeless.

So now I have to begin writing again because I can already tell I am rusty. I have to “train” because I have a very important trip coming up. I would liken it to a travel marathon of sorts. A definite Trip of a Lifetime. Since last year we have been planning and its all starting to come together. In September, I will go to Iceland (first time ever), Edinburgh, Spain, on a Mediterranean cruise, then a transatlantic Disney cruise, south Florida, and home to the Alameda Classic Car Show. I know its no big deal for me to do big trips like this, and I have even proven I can do them with Michael. But this time, we are traveling with my parents. This is a dream come true for me. I finally get to share with them what makes me tick. They get to see me in my natural habitat.

A couple years ago, I strongly encouraged them to get their passports. They did. We went on a few practice runs, some cruises and even a Mexican resort trip. Dad fared much better than I would have guessed. Though his health is sometimes sketchy, he manages and even seems to enjoy the variety travel provides. My Mom is in her element. She is like me, endlessly curious and brave to a fault.

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So, last Autumn, I found this phenomenally good deal ($800 for 11 days!!) on a Disney cruise from Barcelona to Miami. Michael and I booked it immediately. This would be an epic adventure and I mentioned wistfully how nice it would be to share it with Mom and Dad. Michael pushed me to ask them, but I knew it would be no use. It was too big, too far, too much of a commitment. They had never flown across the sea. They have never left North America. They have never even been to Hawaii! No, no, I argued, they would never agree to Europe. My parents weren’t that adventurous. He nudged me to ask, because it wouldn’t hurt, and “Wouldn’t it make them feel nice to at least be asked?” I sighed and agreed. I like being invited, even when I can’t go. It’s nice to be wanted. So I made the courtesy call.

Well, Dad loves himself a good deal, and Mom has always wanted to go to go to Scotland. It took about 90 seconds for them to think about it before they told me to go ahead and book it. My jaw dropped and Michael grinned smugly.  Both my parents have their roots in Europe but neither have set foot on the continent that bore their history.  But it is a BIG trip, a BIG commitment, like I said, a Trip of a Lifetime. Dad’s not getting any younger so I am aware we have one shot at this. I want to show them about travel, culture, and help them experience the world…most of all make some of those unforgettable memories together.

You know when you love a book or a favorite movie, and you just want to share it with those you love? It’s almost more enjoyable to experience it through their eyes. Well thats how I feel about travel. I am so honored that they are open and willing and even excited to come on a grand adventure halfway across the world with me. It wasn’t that long ago that they shook their head at me disapprovingly for quitting corporate America to backpack around the world. I would have never in a million years dreamt that they would be coming with me a decade later.

I love my parents more than anything in the world. And to be able to share the one thing in the world I believe in most, is beyond words. It’s also a huge responsibility. I know traveling is not always easy and there will be times they will need extra “coaching”. I have already watched them grow so muchIMG_1806 just from short times in cruise ports. I can only imagine how they will respond when completely immersed. And to top it all off, they will come visit our home in California. I have arranged it so Dad will be a special guest at the Alameda Classic Car Show. My Dad loves classic cars even more than I love travel. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share the best parts of ourselves with each other.

 

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