A confession: I have never gone on an all inclusive holiday, been part of a group travel package, or taken a cruise. It’s not that I wouldn’t enjoy these experiences, it’s just that I haven’t been drawn to them.
I am not the kind of traveller who needs to be up at 6:00 in the morning to make an early start on seeing all the sights and tourist attractions. In fact, I’m quite the opposite. For me, most days start with a morning stroll to a local café or breakfast spot. I’ll see where the day takes me from there. Sometimes it’s a trip to a market (I always check out those) or a walk to a waterfall, or vineyard or….
I do check out a destination before I visit and may have a rough plan of some of the places that I might like to see, but there is nothing set in stone and I’m rarely disappointed if my trip is over and I haven’t managed to see or do the things on my list. That’s because most of the things I ended up doing were spontaneous, suggested by locals, or experiences I just happened upon that were so much more appealing than anything I read in a book or saw online.
There are always adventures to be had when travelling, especially if you find yourself off the beaten path. You might have to share your chair with something like this.
Or guard your bananas against night time visitors.
We’re off to London and you’re coming too! In a few days we will be in Richmond (south-west of London) visiting my daughter and her family. I am beyond excited to see my three grandsons, two of whom we haven’t seen since they were born in September. Yup, twins and a three year old. Almost guarantees that there will be a child in my arms during most of the waking hours.
My suitcase is open on the floor and the first clean clothes have started to be added. That’s a good sign.
I seem to go through a number of predictable phases whenever a trip is in the offing and I thought I would share them with you.
Excitement: The trip is booked and there is no turning back. Almost time to unleash the moorings and let the wind catch the sails.
Wardrobe Crisis: I know the trip is real when this very predictable phase begins. Living here in the country, my wardrobe in the summer consists mostly of old t-shirts, stained pants, and slip on shoes that I can wear in the gardens. Not exactly big city worthy! Time to replenish and uplift my wardrobe. For the summer, this means finding a couple of dresses and skirts that are the right measure of casual, updating the t-shirts and making sure I have good walking shoes and sandals that I can pair with it all. This wardrobe update takes most of my free time in the month or so preceding a trip because it usually involves longish drives to shopping sources close to the city.
Gifts bought: For this trip that means toys and clothes for the grandchildren. The three year old has already told his mother we always bring him lots of toys in our suitcase. No pressure!
Overwhelm: This is the hardest phase and has me wanting to stay in bed with a pillow pulled over my head. For some reason, I feel I have to put my whole life in order before undertaking any trip. And in the country, on a large property, nothing is all that orderly in the summer. In addition, it means making sure my 96 year old mother has all the support and books and money she needs to tide her over while I am away. Throw in a birthday party and a few social events and you have the set-up for number five which follows.
Frazzled nerves and exhaustion: This is when I go a little crazy and nobody really wants to be around me. I don’t even want to be around me.
Excitement: This last phase which also happens to be the same as the first only happens after the two hour drive to the airport, drop off of the car and the bags have been checked. It always entails a glass of wine or two.
I promise you though, when we get there it’s going to be fun.