We have two major trips planned for the summer; we leave in two days for two weeks on the east coast, and we're taking a 16-day trip to Eastern Europe in late August. Easy for me to summarize in that one sentence. The hectic is in the details.
Here's what I've done as travel planner for these trips:
- The east coast trip - found lodging through Airbnb for five nights in Atlanta and three in Charleston, SC. Made reservations at the hotel in Jacksonville, NC for the reunion of Camp Lejeune High School graduates for classes 1965-67. Sent a check for the Saturday night dance. Arranged for a weeklong car rental. Got a ride to the airport for our 10 a.m. flight and made arrangements to have our cat cared for. Let the small claims court coordinator know I won't be at the July 14 session to lead the mediation team.
- The Eastern Europe trip - chose a date that corresponded to airfares slightly lower than average for incoming to Prague and outdoing through Munich, even in high season. Bought the travel book for Prague (we'll get there two days early to recover from jet lag ahead of time). Wrangled with British Airlines to get rebooked after we canceled our April trip. Pestered the travel insurance people for the refund for our canceled trip in time to get the money to pay for the one we're taking in August instead. Let the small claims court coordinator know I won't be at the September 8 session to lead the mediation team.
I used to like the planning part. As I get older it's more of a nuisance. I know what needs to be done and I am a good list maker, but making the calls and sending the emails and sifting through the options is not as much fun. I'll work on it for an hour and then lie down to take a nap or read. Then I'll get distracted and won't get back to it until the next day. I'll look at my list and the task will still be there and I'll feel a little guilty that I didn't finish taking care of it the day before.
Here's what's on my list for tomorrow, the last day before we leave: Lead the mediation team at small claims court in the morning. Get a pedicure to remove the month-old polish and replace it (I'm wearing sandals or flip-flops on the east coast). Pick up a prescription I forgot to order until today, which will run out before we get home. Do two loads of laundry. Pay the bills. Pack. Not too bad.
Here's what's on Art's list for tomorrow: Read the paper. Work the crossword puzzle. Work the Sudoku puzzle. Pack. In all fairness, Art does all the shopping and all the cooking, and he doesn't have any of that before we live. Still.
On Wednesday night we'll be sleeping in our first Airbnb ever. It's in a working class neighborhood in Atlanta, where locals sit on their porches after work in the evening. Our choice. Our hostess suggests we be friendly as we walk home from the bus stop. We will! That's why we chose Airbnb instead of a hotel. We'll be at the place for five nights. Maybe we'll make some Georgia friends.
It will be hot and humid on the east coast. Right now we're in a Seattle heat wave, so it's like we're ramping up for our travel. I have lived in Virginia and North Carolina and Georgia so it won't be new but it will be sweaty. But I'll meet new people at the convention in Atlanta and at our place in Charleston and probably even at the all-class reunion. Art and I will dance a few times. We'll take walks. We'll ride buses and trains. It will be fun!
We're lucky. I know that for sure. We're 66 now, and 72, and we can still be on the road.