First, the fun one. Last week my 13-year-old grandson Kyle was looking at the world map in our entryway. It's full of pins showing where Art and I have traveled. I said to him, "If you had all the money you wanted, and all the time, where in the world would you want to go?" He said, "New York City". Really? The next time he came over I said, "Kyle, by your 15th birthday I will take you to New York City." This time it was his turn. "Really, Grandma?" Really!
So yesterday I spent a couple of hours on the websites of the two home exchange clubs we belong to. I sent out about 40 requests. So far, I have six who said "no, thank you" and one who said "let me talk to my wife about this". We'll use companion fares and miles and we'll get Kyle and Grandma and Grandpa to New York City. Probably next year.
Now, the scary ones, in order of the fear intensity.
1. At the suggestion of a blogging friend, I'm coordinating a weekend gathering in October for half a dozen women. I've only met two of them in person, but I've read the blogs of the rest of them. Everyone sounds interesting and I am really looking forward to the weekend. But I am only just barely an extrovert on the personality tests. I'm much better in writing than I am in person. What if I don't have anything to say after the first ten minutes? Too late, though. I'm committed.
2. I've created a media sheet for my Viet Nam book and it's time for me to go to the library and three independent booksellers to pitch it. I get a knot in my stomach just thinking about it. I want to memorize a pitch but I can't think of a good one except, "Please put copies of my self-published book on a table before Veterans Day, so people will buy it for their veterans." Actually, I want to assume the fetal position. I am not a marketer. But we're leaving town in a week and I committed to the writers group I belong to that I'd go to all four places before then. So I went to the library today, talked to the manager and dropped off my book. I was so nervous that when she opened the book to look through it, I kept talking instead of shutting up and letting her look. I learned from that experience, anyway. I'd like to think I'll go to the first bookstore tomorrow, but I'll probably put it off because it's so scary.
3. I talked to a houseguest/friend last month about a memorable trip he and his wife took to Africa last year with a friend who coordinates travel with a private outfitter in Kenya. It sounded so interesting that my husband Art - who has always maintained he has no interest in going to Africa - agreed to go. This week I called the houseguest/friend, got the name of his friend, and called him. We spent three hours on the phone and I am now working on an itinerary for two weeks in Kenya and Tanzania - probably next August.
This is the scariest of my projects. Why? Because the cost is nearly double what we budget for travel in a year. The Bag Lady woke up from her long slumber and muttered about how we're going to run out of money if we do this.
Here's the deal. Africa is going to be a costly trip no matter when we go. Even a carefully budgeted one. But we're never going to have more money than we do now, and we're never going to be any younger than we are now. If not now, probably never. Am I willing to forego a trip to Africa to observe the Great Migration just because the Bag Lady is muttering that someday we'll wish we had that money back to put food on the table?
I'm working on the itinerary even though I'm not absolutely certain yet about this trip. I'm thinking about asking friends if they'd like to go along. Six people can travel more economically than two, and the shared experience would be wonderful. Especially the three days in an orphanage, where Art fixes electrical and plumbing stuff and I read to kids while they cluster around me. Or the night in a village where we are the only foreigners, and where we buy a goat from a woman in the village and then give it to the villagers so we can share a meal. See, it's details like that I can't, can't pass up. If I have the courage to put those things on the itinerary, and to tell the Bag Lady to be quiet.
Weeks like this remind me that my Bag Lady still watches.