Yes!!! We are going to Italy! I heard back yesterday from the owners of the little agriturismo that they have space for us at the end of August! I am very excited to be going and I know I will want to cancel at least seventeen times between now and the 19th of August (our get in the car and go date). For now, I am happy to say I have booked a vacation for two weeks, not including travel time.
I was counting the number of vacations I had been on over the years. Since 2008, I have been on five. Never longer than a full week (including travel time). Prior to that, the answer would be 1. Here’s the thing, if it hadn’t been for my mom wanting to not be in Seattle for Christmas (in 2008), we never would have made that step. She didn’t want to worry about playing Martha Stewart so she was joking that we should go to Mexico. We did and we got stuck there for Christmas due to the snow in Seattle. Prior to that first trip to Mexico with Mom, I had only been on vacation once in my early twenties to Australia when I had flight benefits and I went with my best friend from high school.
We travelled alot when I was growing up but never for just the pleasure of travel or vacation. Our travel was carefully coordinated with a move to the next base that my dad was transferred to. We saw alot of the US that way, from the lumbering safety of various model year VW Vanagons with 4 kids, rabbits and a big dog. When I reached 13 or so, my parents were deeply concerned with my bad attitude and unacceptable math scores (B’s). So, I would get shipped off to the Netherlands right after the moving truck left our old house and six weeks later fly into a new city in time to go to a new school with a head full of math. I know I lucked out 😉 I think my dad still thinks this was a punishment. But it so wasn’t. I had my Oma and Opa to myself and I had “job” in the local stable – shoveling manure in exchange for daily riding privileges. This was organized by my Opa. I had three glorious summers like this until my Opa and then my Oma passed.
Over the years, I developed a mindset that travel should be effective and efficient and if you go somewhere new you should maximize the time you are there and be active. See as much as you can, take as many photographs as possible, etc. Better yet, combine this travel with something serious like work or school. There’s not point in just doing something to have fun. I think you can connect the dots and understand why this vacation thing is something I needed remedial instruction in. I have 25 vacation days per year. This is not including public holidays or days like today that our office is closed in order to make a long weekend. As you can imagine, so many days to use is a pressure of it’s own. It means that my habit of combining travel with work isn’t necessary.
Some of my best memories of my mom are from the two trips that we took to Mexico. And some of my best photos of the two of us. My mom had booked a trip to go to Rome to learn to photograph stuff for September 2012. Unfortunately, she couldn’t go because we had just gotten the diagnosis. While I won’t be going to Rome, I will be celebrating in the spirit of Mom’s other habits such as wandering without an itinerary or with any concept of time, asking questions about everything, playing the “I could live there” game, spending hours window shopping and being outside.