My tickets to Ireland are bought, passport applied for, at least half my hotels reserved, itinerary filled with wonderful things.
Twelve days in Ireland and Wales. Thought I was done with foreign travel, what with my advanced age (I know: shut up) and having all three children lined up like jets waiting to hit the runway, in or soon entering college. How will we afford it? You get used to that paralyzing fear, I suppose, realizing you’d best take what you can while you can, because who knows when the chance will come again, if ever.
Turns out there is a fringe benefit to sending my oldest to study in Wales for a semester: Mum gets to go visit! And it’s a happy thing. So happy I’m hesitant to trust it, lest it be pulled out from under my feet. Even this curmudgeon believes that won’t happen, considering it’s come together so quickly. Thank you, MasterCard! And thank you, internet, TripAdvisor and Booking.com. Long may you wave.
Next begins the hardcore research phase, the learning of historical and literary significance of places we’ll visit, which takes the longest of all the steps on my list. Longer even than contemplating how the piles of clothing I’ve assembled will fit into the carry on, which is all I’m bringing with me since I don’t want to deal with luggage claim or dragging a boulder on wheels wherever I go. Cruising past lines of people dolefully resigned to half an hour’s wait at the luggage belt will put a smile on my face. Realizing how little I actually have with me won’t.
I can blame my husband for setting the precedent, becoming the standard by which the rest of us will measure all future packing. He took our middle child to Italy last year, to meet the extended family on his father’s side. The two of them subsisted solely on the contents of a carry on bag each. Of course, they’re men. Men don’t need as many accoutrements. My blow dryer, curling iron, make up and hair products will take up half the damned thing. I’ll be left with a one foot by one foot space in which to fit twelve outfits, because who wants to do laundry on vacation?
Even with futuristic “Space Bags’ I don’t know how I’ll manage that. It is remarkable how much you can fit into a plastic bag that’s had all the air sucked out but still. Packing dresses will help, since they take up so much less space than a standard jeans and top outfit. But I don’t want to wear dresses for twelve days. Molting worn, dirty clothing, buying cheap replacements as I go along is an alternative. But then, what a waste of precious travel time.
First worries, first. Finish bookings, flesh out itinerary, research the hell out of everything.
Plane tickets bought: CHECK!
Passport application sent: CHECK!
Travel guides bought: CHECK!
Hotel booked for arrival and time in Dublin: CHECK!
Bus tour of sites we could never get to by ourselves in the space of one day: CHECK!
Contact established with Dublin Literary Fest management made: CHECK!
Reading up on history: IN PROGRESS.
Still plenty of time to stew on the difficulties, as I don’t leave until May 22. Right on track. Besides that, first I have Colm Toibin’s talk to look forward to and my interview with him in the queue.
Busy as a bee.