Thursday, August 20, 2009

Adventure Day 30 - #39 Plan my next vacation

This item was a suggestion for my list by one of my readers. It was a good one but I have to say I had no idea how challenging it would be for me.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before (I think I have), that Wally and I each grew up in families that didn’t travel much at all – they couldn’t really, neither one had much money at all. My family did a lot of day trips to places, some camping and lots of visits to a certain lake. Wally’s family didn’t do that much. A couple of trips up north to visit family and that was about the end of it. Needless to say this has affected our courage to travel, in a couple of different ways. For one, putting two of us in a car with a map and an objective is just dangerous. Wally has a decent sense of direction, I have absolutely none. Wally can navigate a map, my skills are again lacking in this area. Wally likes to get it right the first time, stay on track and find where we are going. I do too, for the most part, but when our two personalities combine in a vehicle for a long ride we don’t generally have a blast – things just get too tense when we are unsure about what we are doing.

This is a huge theme in our life overall (if you hadn’t noticed), that is one big reason for my 40 day experiment. Vacation planning was another big challenge. I have to say though when I initially put this on the list I was thinking that it would be more of me planning a vacation for the distant future. Wally and I both realize that when school is done we won’t be able to say to our new employers ‘we’re just going to start our jobs off with 2 weeks away – we’ll send a post card!’ However, with me getting this new position starting in September, we realized that the week before we go back to school may be our last chance for a good year to year and a half before we could indulge in travel. The debate began.

Where would we go? How long would we stay? How much did we want to spend? What would we like to do? All questions that we gave differing answers on. You see because of my motto of ‘Don’t wait to experience life – do it now!’ I wanted to go on a great vacation with gusto, to explore new things now. We’d never gone on a vacation that didn’t include staying with friends or family (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I wanted to see what we could do on our own). Especially after this 40 day adventure I wanted to see new places, do new things and really appreciate something completely different. I was set on it. In my mind I had it all planned out. I just needed to purchase our plane tickets, book some accommodations and plan some excursions. I was so excited.

During the discussions Wally was much more conservative in his thinking. I hadn’t worked full time yet (though there was money in the bank for our trip), we only had a week and we still had to get our lives ready for the whirlwind that would begin with school, my job and the changes that would have to happen for all of that to work out. He wanted us to be able to go with peace and a sense of enjoyment rather than worry that we weren’t going to have enough money, time or sense that we needed to relax. That was the point right?

At one point we had even agreed upon going to my desired destination, the deal was we would just go for one less day, and cover less area than we had originally planned. We went to book our tickets and that’s when we realized it likely wouldn’t be worth the trip to spend so much money on flights when we couldn’t stay all that long. I was crushed (to say the least). I laid in bed with tears running down my cheeks trying to explain to Wally why this was so important to me, I know it didn’t make that much sense – we still planned to go in a year or so, but that was my problem.

Since my aunt died, I have tried to live apart from saying ‘someday this’ and ‘maybe later we’ll do that’, a sense of urgency has grown in my heart about life. If something is truly important for me to do I plan on doing it. If it’s something I think could change my life and help me grow I plan on it sooner than later. Anything that takes longer than a year to get to I don’t concentrate too much on. It’s not that I think it won’t happen I just feel a peace that it doesn’t need to happen now, meaning if it’s not important to happen now, I’m ok if it doesn’t happen at all. These are things I’ve had to deal with regarding having our family. I’ve gotten to a place where I’m ok if I never have a family and I have contentment about it – it doesn’t mean I don’t want to grow a family, it just means that I’m not currently pursuing one, which means if it doesn’t happen I’ll be ok. If I die tomorrow I have no regrets about what I have or haven’t gotten to.

This trip meant something to me; I felt that I needed it in some way. I’m not sure if it was the excitement of seeing someplace new, doing something different or the idea of overcoming a challenge we’d never had nerve to try before – but I felt a sincere urgency to do it. When I say urgent, I mean urgent – bordering on hyperventilating urgent, almost fearful that if I didn’t do it now, I’d never get the chance. In many ways it seems like a very juvenile reaction, perhaps it was. However it is this need, to do things now, that I am able to live a fuller, more determined life. I honestly think, most of the time, in the realm of ‘if today was it for me or you, what would I choose to do or say’. I’m not kidding I really think it. I won’t lie, I don’t always choose the right thing to say or do, but the reality of life is very present in my choices. I don’t know of many people that are important to me right now that don’t know how I feel about them in some way – bad or good I guess.

This trip was obviously no different. After some time and deep thought I let go of it and accepted some new possibilities. I looked into a destination we could drive to a few hours away. A place we could both relax at and try a bunch of new things, something that was within our budget, yet still out of the ordinary for us to spend money on. Within a day I had booked a place then cancelled and found another one more within our price range and way nicer for one less day. I have to say that planning a vacation is not really my idea of a good time. It’s a lot of trouble shooting if you have nothing to build on. There’s a lot of risk involved. What if the place you go to is terrible, the service is bad, and there’s nothing to do? What about the money, is it worth putting out so much and not knowing if you are indeed at the right place?

I know I’m probably over thinking it all, I need to relax and just get excited, but these are things our parents never taught us: that it’s ok to spend the money to travel, relax and enjoy some time away. My parents are only beginning to do this. For years we felt guilty about doing these things because we were supposed to be ‘poor little us’ who couldn’t afford to do stuff while everyone else did. We were supposed to be mad at others for prioritizing travel and rest times in their lives. A few years ago I put a stop to that ridiculous school of thought and determined to not be like that. People earned their money and with that earned the right to do with it what they wanted. Now I had that same choice. To be honest I think some people are irresponsible by not taking time to go away and rejuvenate themselves, or challenge themselves to discover new places and activities. It’s disguised as being poor, when many times it’s being scared.

All of that ranting to say, I planned a wonderful 5 days and 4 nights away at a beautiful bed and breakfast a few hours north of us. We’ve got a room that sits over a river with a wonderful view. We will be able to try canoeing (we’ve done this once and I was rather terrified – my new desire to experience things should help with this one), kayaking (never done this), and paddle boating (it’s been forever). There’s also hiking trails and other fun stuff too. I am so looking forward to trying these new things and spending some time with my Wally. I can’t wait to tell all of the fun stories that I’m sure will find us!

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