We never traveled much. Not really. In my family, taking a trip to the movie theater took weeks of preparation. We’re home bodies. We stay put. We like routine.
Once a year during the Christmas holiday, we’d pile in the minivan - or for a brief and horrific time during my formative years, an Astro van - and head to Florida to see my mother’s family. Eleven hours later, after numerous stops for small bladders, gas station snack food addictions and spankings, we’d unpack while we consoled each other over how much we missed the family pets and our own beds.
I took my first plane trip when I was about 5. It lasted 2 hours. That should have been my last experience with air travel. At 5 years old I was able to recognize that it is unnatural for a million tons of fuel, wires and strangers to get launched a million miles into the air going a million miles per minute, or something. Sally Ride and Amelia Earhart are my heroes mostly because the idea of flight scares the EVER LOVING HELL OUT OF ME. I salute their bravery and wallow in the lack of my own.
When I was 13 my parents took us to D.C. for a family trip to discover our nation’s capitol. In retrospect, we were probably too young and A.D.D. for the week-long historical lesson my father had hoped for. All I remember was that we took a bike tour around The Hill, during which my pant leg kept getting caught in the gears, my mother nearly collided with oncoming traffic while lecturing us about the dangers of oncoming traffic, and a tornado hit our neighborhood back home, missing our house by a couple of miles.
In the years since, I’ve learned that I like to travel with people who are not my family members, and I can even fly for more than 2 hours when there’s Xanax readily available. But I don’t get to travel much for a lot of reasons. And there is nothing worse than a woman who isn’t well traveled. I think I read this somewhere. It was probably Bon Voyage.
When a friend and her husband decided to move to London last year, I decided that my old home body gene had to go. I wanted to see them in London; I needed to visit. Then another friend married the friendliest of all Italian men; granted, I don’t know any genuine Italian men, but I’m usually right about these things. They’re living in a quaint Tuscan village so lovely that even now it causes my face to contort when I think about the melancholy walls I stare at for 8 hours each day. I wanted to see them in Italy; I needed to visit.
And so I shall visit them indeed. All four of them.
Luckily for this little-traveled, directionally challenged, air travel conspiracy theorist, I was able to manipulate a well-traveled, recently single friend during a moderately vulnerable time in her life, so she’ll be joining me on my European Adventure: 2012. And by joining I mean she’ll be responsible for making all of our plans, and at my mother’s request, keeping me out of an Italian prison. HOORAY!
We’re leaving on a jet plane in something like 40 days for something like 2 weeks, and part of me hopes we won’t come back again. I’ll take a Xanax, dream about ponies and kiss my homebody gene goodbye somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean.
OHDEARGOD… WE’RE FLYING OVER THE OCEAN…