Last summer I toured Spain and Portugal. A few years earlier I spent July traipsing around France. But as June starts to wind down and July looms on the horizon, my travel calendar is blank. Sure, I’m going to Atlanta for July 4th and again in August for a performance. I’ll probably head to Boston to see the Hopper exhibit and I’ll relocate to DC for a weekend with Allison. That’s all fine and good but none of that has sparkle or sizzle. So a few weeks ago I set out in search of a summer trip to someplace exciting.
My research first started with Africa. I’ve always wanted to do a safari and the timing feels perfect. I’m young, I can take the time and I have the urge to experience it all.
“I think I’m going to Tanzania,” I announced to my mother.
“Why?” she replied.
“For a safari – I can see elephants and giraffes and lions and a bunch of other amazing animals.”
“I’ll take you to the zoo,” my mom offered.
Not willing to be sidelined by her close minded perspective, I got down to researching my options. Let’s see, six nights in Tanzania is $1600 plus $200 in local fees - piece of cake. I then went to Kayak and plugged everything in. When the $3,000 price popped up, I fell off my chair. Yeah, um, a Safari in Africa will have to wait.
“I think I’m going to Cambodia and Thailand,” I announced to my mother a week later.
“Why?” she replied.
“Because I can’t afford to visit Africa the way I want to. At least not now. Plus, Angkor Wat looks amazing,” I exclaimed.
“Isn’t it the rainy season over that way?” my mom questioned.
“Whatever - I won’t melt,” I countered.
“Melt? Nah. Be washed away in a monsoon? Perhaps.”
Undeterred by the prospect of traveling in head to toe Goretex, I set off in search of a trip. Let’s see, eight days in Cambodia and Thailand is $700 plus $100 for local fees - done and done. Then I loaded Sidestep and plugged in the dates. When a travel time of 29 hours popped up I gasped. Yeah, um, Southeast Asia will have to wait until I have more days to spare.
“I think I’m going to Egypt,” I announced to my mother.
“Why?” she replied.
“To see the pyramids and everything else the country has to offer.”
“You realize you’re Jewish and blond and traveling with an American passport, right?”
“I’ll be fine,” I said, my confidence slowly shrinking.
“And your last name, the one stamped in your American passport, is universally Jewish. As in one of the original tribes – you know that too, right?”
“Okay, I’ll shelve Egypt,” I conceded.
Tired and frustrated but still eager to travel internationally, I went back to the drawing board. And I settled on a trip to Belize. One where I could explore the culture and the environment while still chilling out and relaxing. I emailed the tour company to confirm availability. The owner rang me back to say the trip was full. But there was room on the Costa Rica trip. I could white water raft, mountain bike and sit by the beach. I sat down and tallied the price for the trip and the flight and it works out to be a steal. But for some reason, it feels passé. Costa Rica is like Pan Asian cuisine – so yesterday. Sure I’ve never been. Sure the trip sounds amazing. I just can’t get myself to sign on the dotted line.
“So where are you going this week?” my mom asked, a sarcastic tone tainting her inquiry.
“I was thinking of just driving up to the Cape, parking my car in Hyannis and taking a bike over to Nantucket for a week.”
“Where would you stay?” she asked with a hint of jealousy.
“The hostel. Out at Surfside,” I said knowing this made no sense whatsoever. Me spending a week living out of a hostel and relying on my mountain bike for transportation had way too many things wrong with it. Most importantly, my inability to fetch ice-cream from town on a nightly basis.
“I know we look alike but I’m pretty sure there is no way you’re my daughter.”
And so I’m back to square one. Researching Thailand and Egypt and Tanzania. All the while, Costa Rica lingers on the periphery. Maybe I should just toss a map up on the wall, close my eyes, spin around twice and throw a dart. My luck? It will land on Newark.