When I was about 19-20 I started a travel fund, saving $5-10 a week in my Tardis bank. I still save money from every paycheck to support daydreams of far-off places. When WPT and I planned our first trip together in 1999, he was unemployed and I was working for a non-profit. That trip happened because friends and friends of friends offered us places to sleep, we ate at gas stations, and we used my credit card. It took us a year to pay off that trip and it was worth every penny. Now, 15 years later, we are still planning trips, sometimes while we are already on one. Each November we find ourselves debating where to go in January, to mark the anniversary of that first trip. One change is that our son, Garnet, is now part of the adventure.
For me, the planning is part of the fun. The two months leading up to the trip I research places to visit, foods to eat, pour over maps, and create lists. So many lists. Things I need to remember to bring, to do, to look up, and to buy. I obsess. I fret. I worry. And I love every minute.
This year we are going to Ireland. This is the trip we started talking about when WPT got sick in 2007. We could have gone once he was well, but we wanted to wait until our son was old enough to go and it not be seven tortuous days for all involved. This is Garnet’s first international trip and our first cold-weather winter destination in over a decade. He is a great traveler, but all-day travel and no sleep can test even the most airport-hardened soul. I’m more worried about cold, damp feet, so socks have appeared and reappeared on my lists. I think about socks more than I should.
As I obsess I will try and distill the useful bits and offer some travel tips in the coming weeks. I will also attempt to justify packing 2-3 weeks before we leave, but this year I promise to remember Garnet’s underwear (it was just that one time I forgot, I swear!).