Most of my travel blogs are written while I’m traveling. (Probably not a surprise.) This one, however, is written as I’m about to travel.
July 2018 was pretty rough. I called off my engagement and one of the first people I spoke with was my good friend, Carolyn. (Avid followers will remember her cameo in the “From Rory and Lane to Lorelai and Sookie” Puerto Rico post.) She was in the midst of acquiring her yoga teacher certification and told me she’d booked a week-long March yoga retreat in Morocco as her congratulations gift to herself. (Side note, I need to up my self-reward game.) As soon as she told me about it, I knew I was meant to join her and would need something positive to look toward in the following months. I booked the next day.
Given my employment uncertainty (also in July, I found out our company was being acquired and that I’d likely be out of a job at some undefined future point) and my housing situation (yeah, I also sold the condo as part of our breakup), I waited to book the outbound portion of my trip. I eventually decided I should take advantage of my (f)unemployment and spend a whole month abroad before the Moroccan retreat. I found a cheap flight to London (from Denver, which is not where I live, but only a minor detail) and booked it. I was leaving February 12th. Cool. But because I don’t live in Denver and because winter is a cruel trickster, I decided to fly out a day early and stay with my amazing friend and mentor. The only issue? I’m not planning a trip to London. London is just my jumping off point for wherever I want to go in Europe. Which is, um, where am I going on this trip?
I’ve been scenario modeling itinerary after itinerary. (This lack of a job thing means my analytical brain is starving for intellectual stimulation.) So, I’ve researched ad nauseam. At one point I was going to travel to Greece, then it was Malta, then Sicily. I looked into Gibraltar and Málaga. Carolyn and I are to meet up in Porto, Portugal on February 28th, so I know Lisbon will be part of the journey. At one point in Lake Worth, with my mom, we watched a cute movie with Shirley MacLaine and Jessica Lange, “Wild Oats.” They visit the Canary Islands and the water looked beautiful. I realize the islands are in the same area as my hunt so I include them on the list. I throw in Ibiza and the Azores for good measure. Note: Before this travel research I wouldn’t have been able to pick out any of these places on a map.
Finally, I decided to scrap my meticulous planning and just go with my gut. I had recently seen a Facebook post about Montserrat near Barcelona. It looked breathtaking and so I book a flight from London to Barcelona to take the train to Montserrat and spend two nights. Great. I have the first two nights of a 15-night window planned. (To this, my mom says I make her head whirl. Yes, mine, too.)
This is a logistics-laden post and possibly not very enjoyable to read. I also recognize my travel prep tends toward anal retentive. However, I share it to highlight the parts of travel that don’t usually make it to the memories reel. The memories are the experiences you soak up while you’re in these marvelous places. And, truth be told, I could have picked any one of those destinations and gained terrific memories. In the process of my research, I became a bit more knowledgable about geography and identified some new possibilities for future trips.
You know the adage, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey? Turns out even picking the destination is part of the journey.
Stay tuned for a fresh batch of blog posts coming your way, soon!