Tuesday, December 23, 2008
If It's Tuesday, I Used to Be.....
There are those times when filling out some survey or something when you come across the blank for "Interests" or "Hobbies." In my past life, this was easy to fill out, and "travel" was always one of them.
In college, I majored in European Culture and Language, which was my excuse to study all the things that interested me and avoid high level math classes. It also meant I had a good reason to travel every summer. My destination of choice was always Europe, naturally.
My first trip to Europe was a high school graduation gift from my parents. I went with a bunch of other Catholic high school senior girls and a very experienced and proper teacher of ours. Even though it was one of those totally annoying bus tours, it was great for a young girl of 17. There were a lot of senior citizens on our tour, and they enjoyed having us around to add a little spark. The only thing I hated was the total lack of flexibility, but as a Catholic school girl, you're kind of used to that anyway.
I spent a couple of summers on summer programs in Austria, always with a whole lot of travel to other places mixed in. It seems for a while, I went to Europe almost every summer. I was a self-conscious over-protected young adult, but still managed to find my way through the capitals of Europe many times.
I once went to Europe with my mom and dad - just us three. I left with $20 in my pocket and came back with $100. My dad said he was taking me along as his translator, but I am pleased to say that I know it was because my parents just really enjoyed my company. We took advantage of a shared interest and had fun on a trip that means so much more now that they are gone. The last time I went to Europe, it was when I was working at Disney World. They sent a crew of us to Paris to help during the grand opening of what was then called EuroDisney. Nice work if you can get it, I say.
I have also been to Mexico and Victoria, British Columbia. I've been to lots of places in the U.S., but, oddly, never to New York or Chicago except to change planes. I've always wanted to go to Budapest, Prague and Berlin. There were trips planned for those cities, but they were cancelled for one reason or another.
Fast forward to today. It is not so easy to go anywhere with the little SaidSos. They require lots more planning than a backpack and a train pass. We have managed to make the necessary trips to Disney World. They have seen snow in the Smokies. They have visited their grandmother in Ohio. They have been to Tampa for their grandfather's memorial service, where we threw in some time at Busch Gardens.
Sadly, my passport has long expired. I miss those days, but not so much that I would change a thing. I often say that one of the advantages to having children later in life is that I had the opportunity to live a really full life before they came along and made me whole. Sometimes I dream of taking the whole family to Vienna for Christmas or Venice for Carnival and showing them some more of the world, and one day it will happen. I will share with them something that is such a part of what made Mom who she is. Until then, we keep our feet planted on the ground and our adventures not too far from the nearest bathroom.