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Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014

Maybe I can go without shampoo ...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Today I'm going to share with you some information that I've been sitting on for well over a month, which is monumental for me, considering how excited I am about this.

No, this column has nothing to do with babies. Raise your hand if you thought that first sentence was in reference to a baby. Now silently chastise yourself for being one of those people who gives knowing looks to every young woman you know who happens to mention that she's nauseated.

This column has to do with travel, which still excites me a whole heck of a lot more than the idea of childbirth. The big news is ... in a little less than a month, The Police and I are heading off to Europe for a little vacation that he surprised me with at Christmas.

If I didn't feel that it would be very unprofessional, I would have ended that last sentence with approximately 15 exclamation points. But I'm professional, so I just end the sentence with a regular old period, as if to say ... ah, no big deal, just going to Europe. Yawn.

We're not overburdened with vacation time or money, so it's only a seven-day trip, but during those seven days we will squeeze in Paris, Athens and Munich. Paris and Athens were both solidly in my top five of European cities I haven't seen, and Munich was just an added bonus.

I know it's going to be really cold (which is why February is not a peak travel season but also why things are much cheaper then), but it's also really cold here, and I figure freezing my buns off while looking at the Parthenon and the Eiffel Tower beats freezing my buns off while looking at a cotton field, any day of the week.

There are so many reasons why I am insanely excited about this trip, but there's really only one which explaining wouldn't require an excessive amount of exclamation points -- so we'll focus on it.

You see, in my former life, I was a pretty experienced traveler. My family (both immediate and extended) has always been one that placed travel and its subsequent horizon broadening very high on its list of priorities. I have heard very often from both my grandparents and parents that they will not be leaving us kids money when they die, they will be leaving us memories -- and they've followed through on that. We've traveled a lot. As a kid, college student and young unmarried professional, I've toted my bags all over the world. And the thing about that is this ... travel is kind of like Pringles or Girl Scout cookies -- you enjoy the experience and all the bliss it brings you, but then when it's over, all you can think about it getting more. At least that's how it is for me. Come to think of it, if you're looking at it that way, travel is also kind of like crack. But cookies are a much nicer comparison. Yes, I've been to a lot of places. But at the end of every trip, I am filled with this almost unquenchable desire to go somewhere else. I don't even care where else. As long as it's somewhere I've never been before.

I'm not sure that this is normal, but I have no gauge for what is normal in any part of life, so whatever.

So anyway, I was a well-traveled person. And then I got married. Which was a wonderful and beautiful and smart choice that I will never regret. It is, however, a choice which leads one into considerable financial restriction. If one's previous situation was living rent-free with one's parents while working a job that paid well.

I said all that to say that I got married and real life and bills and rent and mortgages and such settled in. You know, the same thing that happens to everyone. And then I could no longer afford to pack it up and fly overseas. So for the past four years, I've been resigned to a domestic life and contented myself with stalking travel websites as much as possible.

That's why The Police, who understands the desires of my heart, just gave me the best Christmas present ever. I'm a little nervous, because it's been several years and I may come off like some yokel tourist instead of a cool globe-trotter. But whatever, because I intend to dance and skip and sing pretty much the whole seven days, so looking cool is probably already out the window.

The Police's main objectives for each destination tend to involve food. He is curious to find out exactly how much gyro meat he can stuff into his face WHILE he looks at the Parthenon, for example. I'm a little afraid to find out the answer to that question. But boldly on we will go.

In between now and then, I have one objective (in addition to practicing my French accent): I am determined to do this whole trip in a carry-on bag. I will not check luggage. The Police (and, might I add, my whole family) does not believe this is possible. But I intend to make it happen.

Pray, church. Just ... pray.

May the frost never inflict your spuds, and may the crow never pick your haystack.

sharris@couriernew

Shannon Spears Harris
Shannon Spears Harris is a staff writer for the Courier News.
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