No better way to start fresh then sitting in a sterile Best Western watching the cars whiz by on the super highway outside. All these dreams of romantic travel through Europe. When I share with people what I am doing, I get lots of "Wow. That's amazing. Props to you. Not sure I would ever do that."
To be fair, I'm not sure I would ever do it either without John's gentle prodding. Or as I shared with him last night over our last dinner together, he put the fear of God in me and I just had to go. He pushed me to do what I have always wanted to do. He's a keeper for sure.
Regardless of how it happened, here I am. About to embark upon two months of travel through Europe. Fabulous places. Spain, Portugal, Rome and Paris. Really, I can't complain.
When you set out on a journey like this, you expect grand things. In your head, things are always much prettier than when reality happens. I suppose that is the way with all of life.
So instead of basking in the glory of being a newly engaged woman for the past week, I launched myself into a state of frantic anxiety over this trip. I tell myself that timing on things is never really perfect... but I couldn't have planned this worse if I tried. A three day whirlwind engagement trip to Rome with my new fiance. A puffy heart trip filled with fantasy and romance. And then, smack, right back down to reality in North Carolina.
Last minute flight arrangements, moving of cats, cleaning out refrigerators and bathrooms, laundry, more laundry, and more laundry. And then one final day of packing and repacking my one (ONE) suitcase at least ten times until it closed. Four times just this morning before 9am. I left more on the floor than made it in. If you see me in pictures on this trip, you'll recognize me as the one wearing the same outfit in every single one.
So, yes, its nice to be finally settled and on my way, leaving the frantic ugliness of last minute travel planning to being on the actual trip itself.
- Last minute packing and repacking and ticking through my list with John.
- A final picture with my suitcase outside the door ready to leave for the airport. What's that, a cracked camera lense?
- A very sad goodbye in the airport. Lots of hugs and kisses. What am I doing????
- Uneventful flight on jetblue. Tiny bottle of water. Silent seat mate. Travel journal writing for two hours straight (finishing up my long overdue entries from Rome).
- Waiting for shuttle to hotel at airport. This deserves mention because I waited in the blistering sun for TWO hours while these idiots kept saying they were driving by and I wasn't there. Did I mention John is both a saint and my current hero?
- Wonderful discussion with two lovely ladies from Canada who were on their way to a cruise. Talked all about Spain and places to go. They told me to hide my ring. We commiserated over the really crappy Best Western service. Very nice. Hope I meet lots more like them along the way.
- Taxi cab to hotel.
- Complaint filed with customer service and at the front desk. Trying to keep up my spirits. Remind myself that I booked here to save some money. Haven't eaten all day. Definitely approaching melt down.
- Dump stuff in room.
- Taxi to Wolf Camera in down town Fort Lauderdale. Another silent driver.
- Seeing the big tools come out at the camera store and then hearing the crunch of glass.
- I have to say, while losing my most favorite, fabulous, awesome lense just prior to leaving on my two month grand adventure through Europe is mildly disappointing to say the least, the store manager truly saved the day. I can't stress enough how important great customer service is. He broke my lense, but in the process, created a customer for life. That is good stuff.
- Buying goods for dinner at the Publix down Sunrise Ave. A frozen pizza, bottle of perrier, and cardboard box of pinot grigio is staring at me from my mini fridge wanting me to hurry up and finish this really long post.
- An awesome cab ride back to the hotel sharing lovely conversation with a driver from Haiti. We talked about his family, the devastation of his country, how God granted his prayers and how lucky we really are.
- A nice talk with Dad. I'm realizing how important and fun it is to talk to people when you are alone all day.
- A really disappointing trip to the vending machine. $1.50 down the drain for a very mislabeled drink that was supposed to help me conserve a few calories.
So I have to say, day one started off okay. Despite some rough moments, there were also a few really bright rays. And truly, it can't be all that bad. Tomorrow I board a ship for two weeks and begin my trip of a lifetime. I am 'this' close to starting to get really excited.
And so here I sit. Reclining in a beautiful new modern themed lime green bed in the Best Western Fort Lauderdale Airport South working on my first blog post. Freezing. Can't figure out how to turn air conditioning down. I can't believe I am finally here.
I assure the one or two readers that have stayed with me through this entire post that it will get better from here. This is just the beginning. I promise I'll share the good and not so good.... today just a little glimpse of what's to come. I hope you'll continue to join me on my journey.
PS - I have to say I am just a little proud of myself today. I did a bunch of things I normally don't and I survived. I wonder how this will translate overseas...