I am cursed when it comes to travel. My freshman year of college, a friend and I decided to drive to Arizona over spring break to visit another friend attending school down there. We borrowed my friend’s dad’s car and had it all checked out and serviced two weeks before the trip. But that didn’t stop it from breaking down three times during the trip–once after we spent several days stuck in New Mexico while the transmission was replaced (and to top it off, I got food poisoning on our first day in Santa Fe). We never did make it to Arizona.
Several years later, my husband and I planned a romantic getaway to Mexico. It took us more than six hours to finally get on a flight out of Omaha after our plane was delayed and then cancelled, and we ended up spending what was supposed to be our first day and a half in Mexico sleeping in a shabby hotel in Philadelphia and navigating the Philly airport.
I don’t know what it is, but every time I go on a big trip, something goes wrong. Every. single. time. So, with just two weeks left until my husband and I fly to Italy, I’m expecting the crisis to hit any day. It’s, apparently, a law of (my) nature.
Due to my, erm, history with travel, I’ve come to expect four very distinct stages of being in the months and weeks leading up to any big trip. Knowing they’re coming makes the up and down-ness a little easier to deal with.
1. Yay, vacation!
It’s all so exciting when it’s fresh and new–you haven’t dug into the detailed plans yet and you’re free to enjoy the idea of a romantic, child-free getaway. Enjoy it while it lasts, friends, because it IS temporary.
This is the stage when I’m all kinds of optimistic about the upcoming trip. Surely my past experiences were just bad luck. This time will be different. Sure it will.
2. OMG, so much to do.
Next comes what I like to call the “list stage.” To-do lists, packing lists, shopping lists, lists of phone numbers, lists of reasons why this vacation is not a terrible idea. Make ’em, check ’em off, make more… it’s a never-ending cycle.
3. That’s it, we’re not going.
There’s always something that makes me think the trip isn’t going to happen–we’ll have to cancel at the last minute. For example: We’re currently two weeks away from our scheduled departure, and–due to extenuating circumstances–we still don’t have plans finalized for our daughter’s childcare. In other words: our 14-month-old baby has nowhere to go. Yes, I’m freaking out, thanks for asking. Yes, I’ve checked the cancellation policy on our flight and hotel. Yes, we’re going to lose all our money and still never see our destination.
Whether it’s a cancelled flight, childcare plans that fall through, work stress, or missing hotel reservations, there’s always something. Always.
4. Later, b*[email protected]!es!
But (usually) the big day arrives at last. Of course, by this time you’re so stressed out from preparing for the vacation that your need for the vacation has increased exponentially, and you don’t even care that there’s still laundry in the washing machine or that the cat dug through the recycling and there are bottle caps strewn all over the kitchen floor. All you care about is getting out the door, come hell or high water.
Two weeks until stage four, you guys. Two weeks.