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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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