Wednesday, March 17, 2010

All this talk about travel...

Thinking about a big trip, I am forced to reminisce for the next six months or so about my past travels.  Obviously, my most significant trip thus far in my life was my summer abroad.  A month in Rome, a few weeks in France, Belgium and Luxumburg, and two weeks in the UK (mostly Oxford and London).

I had been to London before, and Mexico briefly, but that was the extent of my international travel.  I had never been someplace where people generally did not speak English.  The horror, I know.  When given the opportunity to spend nine weeks overseas, I jumped.  To Rome, I went. Rome involved much sight-seeing.  The problem?  There is just so much to see in Rome, let alone the entire country of Italy.  We saw the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Colloseum, and of course, visited Vatican City.  Sadly, I felt that i never scratched the surface.  My efforts to do weekend trips to other cities in Italy left me exhausted and broke.  Word to the wise, do not attempt Florence, Venice and Pompeii in one weekend.  Just don't do it.  They are in different directions.

Needless to say, after one month of studying in the morning, trekking around Rome all afternoon and evening, and training off to other cities from Friday afternoon until late Sunday evening, I was burned out from "sight-seeing."  My efforts after Rome were more of an attempt to make sure I saw something worthy.  I saw a lot, not to worry, but my tourist vigor had left the building.  Rather than hit up museums at every chance, I would sit in an outside cafe and have lunch and wine (or beer once we got to Belgium).  I attempted to enjoy my experience, knowing that it most certainly would be the last large chunk of time where I was truly unemployed and able to "charge it," knowing that  some big fancy law job was waiting for me when I graduated and passed the bar in two years.

(Ha.  Hahahahhaha.  I was so young and naive.)

All youthful hopefulness aside, one story never fails to get a laugh.  We were in Oxford on our very last night. My bus to Heathrow was set to leave at 5:00 a.m. for my flight back to Chicago.  Never one to miss a party, I attended the pub crawl through town, organized by our professor, mind you, and proceeded to live it up.  One thing you must know about the pubs in England is that they close at 11:00 p.m.  And by close, I mean, hand over your pint glass, it's 11:00:01, time to go.  When put into that situation, "Kindly give me your glass," the server requested, I did the only thing that made sense: I took that pint glass, three quarters of the way full of some thick, not-cold-enough ale, and drank it.  One fell gulp.  Down the gullet.  I chugged it, if you want to be a crass American.  That swift maneuver earned me the respect of several classmates and one marriage proposal.  Classic.

Of course, after that, our professor located a "club" to where we proceeded to dance and continue drinking the night away.  Bad move, considering my early flight the next day.  Let's just say, a seven-hour flight while recovering from an authentic pub crawl sitting next to a Pakistani man offering you his curry and naan bread and asking you for your phone number is never a good idea.  Good to know I have a person to visit in Kansas City should I ever need one.  He was good enough to offer up his place for me to stay.

I have grown up much since that trip.  I now save money for my vacations.  (As of today's date, I have $130 saved up for my fall vacation.  Miss Money Bags, right?)  Charging is not an option.  I don't have a fancy lawyer job to send me on exotic travels without caution to money.   I have to plan my work schedule around vacation months in advance.  I can only really go for a week or so at a time.  I likely will not be "chugging" beers on my vacation this fall.

But I do look forward to that wide-eyed wonder of viewing new, undiscovered-by-me territory.  I can't wait to take pictures of everything, from the monkeys I hope to encounter on our hikes, to the little grocery stores I hope to visit to grab a snack.  I look forward to whatever next year's vacation may hold.  Mostly, I anticipate longer than a weekend off work with my favorite person in the world, my P.I.C.  I will just tell him to "hold the naan bread" for our flights.  Never a good idea.  Trust me.

1 comment:

  1. this one, dear. Where are you planning on going?!?
    I really, really, REALLY want to leave the country for a while too. It's been hard lately because I used to travel all the time and since I have been living in Chicago, well, things have changed. Such a bummer.
    I heard about $250 R/T tickets, tax included to Costa Rica the other day....