A trip in the making
Before the trip comes the planning. And sometimes the plan is more fun than the trip.
Planning is a time for making decisions, which isn’t always easy. Settling on an itinerary, selecting lodging, figuring out transportation and choosing activities and sights. Sometimes that means making sacrifices. There’s never as much time as I want to go everywhere I want to go.
It’s also a time for anticipation, for imagining the trip and learning about the places I’ll visit.
When planning a trip, everything goes smoothly. I am never tired, my feet never hurt, I don’t get lost or miss a train or lose anything. Planning is like the perfect dress rehearsal.
Usually, the performance doesn’t end up going quite so perfectly. But that’s part of the adventure!
You know that feeling you get when you’ve planned a trip that includes a one-day jaunt into Brazil, and so you have to get vaccinations that cost over $300 and you have to pay an additional $265 to apply for a Visa?
Yeah, me too…
After my four-week tour in South America this November, staying in fourteen different places and flying twelve separate legs, I decided I will need a post-vacation vacation.
Luckily, I work for a company that closes our office for the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Last year I went to San Francisco for the week and had a great time. But this year I decided to look for a relaxing getaway where it will be warm and quiet.
I decided to look for somewhere in Mexico. My criteria were that it had to be relatively easy to get to and it had to be a place that wouldn’t be overrun with tourists (especially American tourists).
I’m very excited about my next trip, which will take me to a new continent (my third after North America and Europe). I’m going to be spending four weeks visiting Argentina and Chile (with a brief jaunt into Brazil).
I decided to try a tour this time, and I have mixed feelings about it. I am sure there will be times when I miss the independence I have come to cherish when I travel, but I am also hoping that having all the arrangements being taken care of for me by someone else will make it less stressful. This trip also covers a lot of ground: in addition to my flights there and back, there are seven internal flights and some long travel days. There are also some cultural exchange activities that would be very difficult to organize on my own. It’s also a tour that is guaranteed to have no more than 16 participants. so that should make it much more pleasant than traveling with a large herd of tourists. I’m hoping all these elements outweigh the negatives of traveling with a group.
I leave in three days!
I will be doing my best to blog daily while I’m gone, but full, exhausting days sometimes interfere, and frankly, full, exhausting days are more important than blogging.
With just a few weeks until my Beltherway trip, I am spending a lot of time trying to get organized. That involves not just making final itinerary plans, but also making a checklist for packing and pre-trip preparations — things like remembering to stop mail delivery, turn down the heat, and notify my credit card issuer of my plans.
I decided that I really want to stay in Amsterdam and not in Haarlem.
- Because it’s Amsterdam, and I like being in the heart of things.
- Because I won’t have to take a train back home every evening when I spend the day in Amsterdam.
- Because if I need to take a break in the middle of the day, I can more easily head back “home.”
- Because most of the day trips I’d want to take from Haarlem would require me to first head to Amsterdam anyway.
My next big trip is just over two months away, so I’ve been putting a lot of energy into making final plans. One of the big questions I had for myself is how to spend my day in Balestrand.
On the way between Oslo and Bergen, I have two nights in Balestrand. I depart Oslo by train at 06:25, arriving in Myrdal at 11:48; then at 12:13 the Flåm Railway departs, arriving in Flåm at 13:10. These two trains are supposed to go through some spectacular scenery.
Yes, Beltherway (for BELgium, neTHERlands, norWAY). Thanks to Troy Aker for the brilliant portmanteau.
This past weekend I went up to Rick Steves’ Travel Center in Edmonds for a trip consult with Lisa, and with her help I was able to firm up my itinerary, and I’ve finished booking all my accommodations, mostly through Airbnb.
I was thinking “Northern Europe,” but that doesn’t feel nearly specific enough. Do I just call it “Belgium, Netherlands, and Norway”? It doesn’t exactly come trippingly off the tongue.
I need help coming up with a good, succinct name for this trip that describes where I’m going.