My god I hate planning trips




I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent planning my upcoming trip to Ireland and Wales, certainly more than I’ll spend in the air – both going to and coming back from Dublin.

The Euro and British Pound both crush the dollar; hotels are ungodly expensive. I don’t even want to know what food will cost. Adding up our hotel and bus tour totals I had the passing thought maybe it would be safe to sleep on park benches. Dublin’s a nice city. It has loads and loads of parks. We could switch every night, maybe even take turns sitting up watching our luggage. I’d feel a lot better about eating and drinking if that load were off my back. Another alternative would be fighting the pigeons for bread, perhaps camouflaging ourselves somehow so we look like overgrown birds. Dodos, maybe.

Are you sure no one out there lives in Dublin and has a floor to spare?


I shaved a day off Dublin to save a few Euros or Pounds or however you convert hotel money spent in Wales instead of Ireland’s capital city. Still far from cheap, even in relatively far-flung Welsh towns. I chose Bangor, partly because it’s pretty and partly because it’s a nice, leisurely trip over the sea then by train. It’s sort of ocean-front, though not really since we’re staying inland, somewhere I can’t believe actually is considered Bangor but then again Wales is a tiny country. What we will have are glorious mountain views. I suppose I’m okay with that, since we’ll see loads of the sea when we get back around to Swansea. We’ll have the all-around package before it’s said and done. Much money will be spent but many things will be seen.

It’s only a one-time thing, right?

You know who I envy right now? Travel journalists. I want to knock their heads together, I’m so jealous. Perhaps if I’d studied journalism in college, even had a clue what was out there for journalists, I may have worked my way up to travel writing. As it is, I think this is it. Oh, maybe I’ll write a novel, some stories, a stray article and certainly many more book reviews but I feel sick to my stomach when I consider what instruction in writing may have done for me. Honestly, I had no idea what the world held. I grew up in a cornfield, in Central Illinois. Not too horribly far from where David Foster Wallace lived but let’s not think about that.

Please, let’s not think about that.

I didn’t know about MFAs. It didn’t cross my mind to go to a real college with journalism majors. Hard to imagine anyone less informed than I. Yes, I read an awful lot and wrote stupid bits and pieces but now here I am and I can’t see how I’d possibly progress much from here. As far as travel writing, what a joke! My best risk-taking days are behind me, at least my first flush of youth. In my favor, I have stopped giving much of a damn about appearing stupid or childish in public. My kids can confirm that. But with my knees, obstinate refusal to “rough it” and great dislike of crowded places I’m not the best candidate to complete with Paul Theroux. He can rest easily on that account.

Still, surely there’s something I can do, without breaking the bank?

Och, why did I waste my youth! I’m of course the only person to have this regret, the only person to suffer so. And while I’m getting what may be this last chance to travel, with three kids I certainly can’t make a habit of it. Would anyone be interested in travel writing about what’s a day’s trip from where I live?

Hell, no!

Stuck I am, planning one last itinerary, spending an indecent amount of money, doomed to suburbia for the rest of my years. My pathetic years…

Well, that was cathartic. Maybe drowning in the Liffey would be an impressive way to go out, eh? At least I’d make a headline that way.






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