|Photo by digitonin on Flickr|
I hate pretty much everything about air travel. It irks me that the airlines don't realize that squishing so many people into such a tiny space is fundamentally opposed to the American culture's concept of personal space. I hate it when the person sitting next to me is *touching* me, just by sheer virtue of sitting there, unless that person is related to me. And even then I don't love it, but can deal. This is one of those times - packed flight, large middle seat person keeps shifting around and reminding me that I have nowhere else to go without her touching me. Yuck yuck yuck.
But it's nice to be alone with my thoughts (and the blog, of course) and not have that constant stress of trying to keep an almost-2-year old from pitching a fit or kicking the seat in front of her.
It takes me back to the 3.5 years I spent working for Deloitte Consulting, traveling *every week*. Most of that time was before 9/11 and all the TSA craziness, and I got out just about when it became unbearable. I got really good at traveling - packing light, organizing my laptop bag to optimize for the security check, not checking bags, and doing everything online.
Since then, I can probably count on 2 hands the number of plane trips I've taken. TJ's even less of a fan of air travel than I am, so our vacations are usually road trips. Both of us are serious homebodies, so we tend to burn vacation just staying home for a day or two throughout the year. And I'm cool with that.
In preparation for the Mondo Beyondo class I'm taking, I've been reading other people's posted "life dreams" lists online. Most of them involve extensive traveling adventures. I'm pretty sure mine won't. There are only two trips I MUST do sometime - spend at least 2 weeks in Ireland, and go to the Christmas Market in Munich, Germany.
I'm just not an adventurous soul. I'm definitely not a "backpack across xxx continent and see 10 countries" kind of girl. I'm more of a "find the nearest Four Seasons and park there for a week" traveler. I'm sure readers of the Lonely Planet guides are appalled by this. It's not that I don't have curiosity about the world around me. I do, but just not enough to get out of my comfy home to go see it.
So I mostly end up traveling because an opportunity is presented to me, not because I seek it out. My parents nearly had to force me to go on a trip to France with my high school French class. I just wasn't all that excited about leaving my house, and the known quantity of summer vacation. I'm glad I went, if only because I found out that I might want to go back and see more of the Louvre, and maybe Switzerland some day.
I did learn that I HATE group tours with a flaming passion. I don't want someone else to set my itinerary for me, or tell me how long I can spend at a particular place. I also hate having a packed agenda of sightseeing. That's not relaxing at all. I don't want to check off all the boxes to say I saw all the major attractions. It's not my thing. I'd rather wander around the city on my own pace, see one or two of the main things, and eat the yummy food.
So this is precisely what I did when I was given the opportunity to go to Munich Germany for work in 2003. I spent a week there, but only had work events for 3 days. I spent time napping in my really nice hotel, walked around the small town near the hotel, took the train into the big city a couple of times, did a crapload of shopping at H&M (which wasn't on the West Coast at that time), and ate a LOT of sausages in different shapes and sizes. I practiced my (crappy) German, and got answered in perfect English by the nice and patient people that I met. I saw the Olympic park, the BMW museum, a toy museum, and a really old church in the center of the city. If there were other things I was *supposed* to see, I didn't. It was relaxed, and I really felt like I got a feel for the place. I also realized I dig traveling by myself. Except for when I got on the wrong Express train and just narrowly avoided ending up hundreds of miles from my hotel. (My destination was the last stop before a long ride to some other part of Germany. Yikes.)
In that same job at Microsoft, I also got to travel to Singapore, which I like to call the Las Vegas version of Asia. It's clean and sanitized for your protection. Not being a "get your hands dirty" kind of traveler, I loved it. I'd totally go back there.
So yeah, I'm no world traveler, and I'm cool with that. We may expand our horizons a bit more when BabyT is old enough to remember our trips, but I'm guessing we won't be the "pull kid out of school and travel the world for a year" family.
But right now, I'm ready for Las Vegas, where we'll get to see fake New York, fake Paris, and fake Venice. Hooray!