Europe or Bust
We are one week from takeoff.
I almost don’t even believe it. A year and a half of dreaming, planning, organizing, and planning some more makes this trip almost seem like a surreal, perpetual idea and not something that’s actually happening.
People keep asking me if I’m excited and truthfully, I might be a little, but overall I still feel pretty numb. I still can’t believe we actually followed through with this whole crazy thing. Never in a million years did I think we would up and decide to take a three week trip to Europe smack in the throes of life in our thirties and parenthood, but, here we are. Anxious, excited, and already tired, but we’re here. And I’m proud of us.
My husband and I both decided early on that we didn’t want to wait until retirement to live life the way we wanted. We knew it would take a lot of hard work and committed to that, but agreed if we were gonna work hard we were gonna play hard, too.
So now, we play.
I feel like I should be doing more right now. I keep poking at the pile of stuff to pack, shifting things around and organizing them into different categories, but shoving all of that into a suitcase – yes, that’s right, three people, three weeks, ONE suitcase – will take ten minutes tops. The hard part was gathering everything into the pile. Now I just get to stare at it for a while.
Everything else I can possibly think of is finalized. The house sitter, the dog walker, the grass cutter, the mail hold, the currency exchange. We still can’t figure out how to use the newfangled car harness we bought for my daughter, but I’m hoping at some point two adults can learn how to read and follow instructions properly.
Most of my anxiety right now comes from not knowing the unknown, surprise surprise. The number of variables involved in this trip are overwhelming and I’m trying to stay focused on everything that could go right instead of everything that could go wrong. I find both exhilaration and terror in having absolutely no idea how this trip will go. When we’re at home, my husband and I are familiar with our surroundings, our routines, our norms. We’re safe in our comfort zones and as parents, this is where we feel most confident in protecting our daughter. Both of us are uncomfortable at the thought of protecting her in territory that’s unfamiliar to us too. This will definitely be a learning experience for us all.
Speaking of my little girl, I have no clue how she is going to handle this trip. She’s never even been on an airplane before. There are times her high maintenance arrives right on cue and there are times her adaptability and flexibility surprise us. I think both my husband and I are ready for battle. We know there’s going to be some rough spots because there are rough spots for even adults on a trip of this magnitude, let alone a confused jet-lagged toddler who can’t even comprehend that there are actually other parts of the world, let alone that she’s suddenly in one of them. I think our expectations are right where they need to be.
Once we’re on the road (or in the sky) I’ll update as I’m able, but I really want to take some time and space away from as many responsibilities and commitments as I possibly can this trip. I’m not sure if/when I’ll ever have such a long stretch of time off work to be with my family, so I want to be present and extra intentional with my time away.
I can’t wait for this adventure. Every place I go changes me, and I’m looking forward to the new woman waiting for me when I’m home.
Bon voyage, mamas!