I’m dreaming of the day that I can fly away to some exotic locale, breathe in the warm breeze, take in the sights, eat some authentic cuisine, and lose myself in another world.
This is how I like to vacation.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast last April in Sol Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba with my dear friend Mary. Relaxing at the ____ (insert: beach, pool deck, restaurant, hotel room, catamaran, etc.) was amazing, and sorely needed at the time. I’ll probably do the all-inclusive thing again in the near future. But my true love is culture. There was little opportunity to discover the true Cuban culture on that trip, nor did we particularly seek it out.
My next trip is already in the works. Every pay (weekly) I transfer just $10.00 into my “Squirrel Account”. This is the simple savings account I set up last year for the specific purpose of saving for my next trip. No longer do I have the luxury of just putting a plane ticket on my MasterCard and dealing with the consequences later.
Later is now.
My measly savings totals just over $400.00 as of today, but my trip is not going to be for a while yet. I will take a vacation when I land my career (either before starting or once my vacation allowance is accessible). This gives me some time. I’m not sure where I’m going yet but I know that I will be going somewhere great.
I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to France (twice) and England to visit some great friends from my time in Disney; trips that probably would not have occurred without someone on the other side there to host me. Travelling solo can be nerve-wracking, and I’ve experienced more than my share of travel complications. Closed flights, delayed flights, bankrupt charter companies, lost baggage, almost missed trains, almost missed ferries, cancelled ferries, almost cancelled hired cars, etc. It truly does prepare a girl for almost anything.
One of the best features of the solo trips to Europe I’ve taken (besides spending time with friends I only get to see every few years), has to be the polarity of the time spent there. Both times I’ve travelled to Europe I scheduled my trip in 2 parts. The first part spent with my friend Yann and his girlfriend Flora (Paris in 2006, London in 2008) and the second part with my friend Claire and her boyfriend Mike (La Baule in 2006, Nantes & Cherbourg in 2008). What makes these experience so incredible is how completely different they were from each other.
With Yann, I got to experience big city life both with him and his friends, as well as a lot of exploring on my own. Shopping, museums, galleries, landmarks (e.g. L’Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, the Louvre in Paris, and Westminster Abbey, Piccadilly Circus, the Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London, etc.), bars, and theatre were all a part of my big city experiences. After my first week, it was off to see Claire. With her and Mike, I got to experience road trips through the French country-side, castles, the best zoo I’ve ever been to, Mont St.-Michel, Juno Beach (as a Canadian, this was a big deal for me). With her and Mike, we rented a small boat and visited and dined on a tiny island called Hoëdic off the North-West coast of France.
I experienced French hospitality at its best on both of these trips, and it was overwhelming. I like to think that eventually I will be able to welcome all of these friends into my own home in Canada soon enough.
The invitation still stands.