When you have a “travel allowance”, the world really opens up to you. Instead of a wishful bucket list, you can actually go see those destinations. Without even being on death’s doorstep! Awesome, right?! But it’s also problematic. Sure, it SOUNDS easy; where do you want to go? Because now YOU CAN. How hard can it be to make a list of awesome places to visit? I know what you’re thinking, I can see your face in my mind all “Srsly, Erin?” Let me tell you, it can be REALLY challenging, thankyouverymuch. Just try it. Make a list of alllllllllllllll the places on Earth you’d like to see.
Great. Now. You might need to narrow down your list. Just a smidge. Or prioritize it, at least. You can only go to one place at a time, after all. ONE! You have to pick ONE. ONE place from your list to visit (first). HOW DO YOU DECIDE?! How do you choose between this:
How do you decide whether to walk the same halls and look out the same windows as Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn,
or Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette?
What sane individual can pick this nature:
(Red. Hot. Magma.)
over this nature?:
(YES! That’s a real place! It’s not a fake photo!! I’ll wait while you add it to your bucket list.)
TELL ME HOW TO CHOOSE!!! And that’s just six of the options, I could go on for DAYS!! Do you just flip a coin? Make endless pro/con lists? What factors go into selecting which locations to see and which to leave on your “I wish I could have seen ___” list? HOW DO YOU LIVE WITH THAT REGRET?!
We can go on about 2 trips per year, because kids, school, work, responsibility. All the joys in life. We only get this travel allowance for a few years, so now maybe you’re starting to understand my stress and urgency. It’s impossible to see all these places in this short amount of time, clearly, so not only do destinations go on the “maybe next time” list, but some also have to move to the “not happening” list. Of course, the lists are fluid and can change with the season, our mood, relative safety of the region, etc. You still have to pick only one at a time, and if it sucks, live with the fact that you chose X over Y. Good luck with your travel roulette.
Sometimes, you get a little help because the decision isn’t yours alone. Maybe you’re travelling in a group, or with your significant other. But even that can be impossible. Some asshole in the group wants to plan out every second of every day and freaks out when you inevitably end up off schedule. Half the group wants to see this, and the other half wants to see that. Significant other wants to go to Paris, you hate that idea with every fiber of your being. But you can’t say that, because feelings and shit.
Or MAYBE you’ve lost your damn mind, and are taking your kids. You know, those little versions of “humans” you thought it’d be fun to make? The ones that would be more appreciative of a trip to the local trampoline park than a trip to see all the history and nature on the planet combined? Yeah. Them.
This last year, we opted to take our first-ever family vacation during the spring break. Obviously, there are certain places you just don’t waste on humans under the age of 25, and definitely not on those under the age of 10. But at the same time, I’m not about to waste one of my finite number of trips on a location we could really visit in a few years when we’re back home. Ya know, like Disney. Selfish, I know. Don’t care even a little bit. ESPECIALLY because having been born on Easter, my birthday almost always falls during spring break, and it would for said vacation. This is such a Rich Kids of Instagram thing to say, but I was SO excited to spend my birthday in a different country for the second year in a row! What an awesome, albeit inadvertent, new tradition!! See? You hate me for that thought, too.
Well, Erin, where do you want to go for your birthday? With uncharacteristic certainty, I mentally declared Scotland, and priced it out on a few different dates to find the best deals, and there were some frickin’ awesome packages. Having worked for a school district for pretty much ever, I knew that I couldn’t just present one option. I needed a back-up location, that I would also want to visit, if it were selected instead.
Stonehenge. But what even is around Stonehenge?? A quick Google search informed me that Bath is nearby, and gorgeous, and that Stonehenge is not THAT far from London. London, hmm, London IS on the list. It’s not all that near the top, but it’s there. So I price it out as well. I’m feeling pretty confident because Scotland is the better deal. Linlithgow Palace, here I come!
But then, BUT THEN.
I’d like to say I was surprised when everyone on social media climbed up on the “the kids would like London better” soapbox, but that’d be a lie. If I’m being honest, I was already annoyed just thinking about dragging the girls through the palace, having to rush to appease them, knowing that no amount of “queens and princesses lived here!” would hold their interest. Those damn tiny humans. Regardless, still mad at everyone that voted London. (XO, friends, don’t take it too personally.)
FINE. London it is. Mr. First World Problems offered up a comforting “We’ll see Stonehenge”.
Yeah, yeaahhhhhh. I switched gears and busted out maps of London, marked places of interest, how far they are from each other, how long people usually spent at each, pulled up weather forecasts, grouped together which places would be feasible to visit in a day, including a day trip to Stonehenge and Bath. Everything was looking good.
But then, BUT THEN.
My poor husband sends me a message, asking which dates we had selected, because he’s got an important thing at work. Allow me to decode: Sorry honey, we have to change the dates, can’t travel on your birthday. He probably did feel bad, but don’t worry, I didn’t let that stop me from being a pouty brat about it. Scotland was an even better deal on the new dates, so I used this unfortunate window to plead my case again. Now my birthday is spoiled! Scotland is significantly less! AND to do London, the girls would have to miss the last day of the school term! AND WHAT ABOUT MY BIRTHDAY?!
Alas, London won out.
First world problem: It’s hard to decide which fabulous vacation to take (first).