Getting Your Ducks in a Row… and keeping them close!

Yes, it has been awhile.  Honestly, I have no idea what happened to October… did it even happen??  I’m gearing up for what I refer to as my traveling season.  I have several big trips planned plus all the holidays that will get me through the end of this year and on to 2012.  This has definitely been the fastest year in recorded history.

In getting ready for my trips, I started to think about my favorite topic.  Well, second favorite topic… bacon being my favorite.  Organization.  As we’ve previously discussed, I do love a good list.  Getting all my ducks in a row, as it were, makes me very happy.

I also adore traveling and find that nothing else makes me feel quite so alive and connected to the world.  I even love the whole “getting there” bit of airports and flights.  Sometimes I wish it happened a little quicker and without some of the hassles of delays and long lines, but all in all I still enjoy it.  I also always tend to do a good bit of introspection when I travel.  I take stock, make plans, wish and dream… all of which leads to …. making more lists!  Yay!

In order to get the most out of traveling; however, I have to prepare.  I have to get organized.  After all, I do have The World’s Dorkiest Cat to consider.  I have to make sure he’s well looked after.  I also like to make sure all bills are paid, messages returned, fridge cleared out, trash emptied etc….. nothing takes away from a trip more than unpleasant surprises waiting for you on your return.

While packing for what will be one of my longest journeys (to New Zealand), I realized what it is I enjoy so much about traveling.  I love being self-contained.  Having all my stuff close to me.  It’s also what I absolutely hate about packing.  I have to limit my stuff.  I cannot have everything with me.  I have to decide ahead of time what I’m going to want to wear (how can I possibly know what I’m going to want to wear next Thursday!?).    But while I’m on a plane, or in a hotel room… everything is with me.  I like that.  I’ve always been like that.  As a child, I was content to sit quietly in my room with my stuff.  No need to run wildly around getting all messy.

I also adore seeing and experiencing new things.  Not everyone does, but for me…. bring it!  The more I travel, the more I realize people and places are basically the same, but with these strange, wonderous, incredible little differences.  It makes you think.  It makes you wonder if you could or should do things a little differently.

So, as I spend my last day home packing, checking lists, and lining up my proverbial ducks I look ahead to new experiences, seeing old friends, making new ones.  All while deciding who I want to be next year and taking a few notes on that!  Bon Jour!

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Do Unto Others… As They Want

Sometimes, it is not all about me.  You may not find that surprising, but I always do.

Last weekend I went on a mother/daughter road trip.  Me, my sister, and Mom.  The idea was to use this trip as a birthday present for my mom.  Great idea in theory, very risky in practice.

All three of us have preconceived notions of what constitutes an enjoyable trip.  Also, as all families do, we each have our predetermined role we play.  My role is that of planner, travel agent, etc…  Where we go, what we do, where we eat (and many times, what my mother orders) always seems to be up to me.  I come by this role honestly.  It’s what I do and anyone that knows me knows I plan everything!  I have menus planned for two weeks out.  I have my weekly workouts done a month in advance.  I make lists, I research, I have lists of things to add to my lists!  But not this time… this time I just let things happen.

Not that I was totally unprepared.  This trip was the daughters’ gift to Mom, so besides the destination, obviously there were hotel arrangements and driving directions to obtain.  But really, other than that…. I let go.

Was every stop and every activity as I would have planned it if it was just my husband and I?  Absolutely not.  But then again, it wasn’t all about me (again – gasp!).  We stumbled upon restaurants and went back to find places we passed earlier that looked interesting.  We surveyed maps and decided what we would do together.  There were some very pleasant surprises, and some rather humorous disappointments.  But you know what?  A grand time was had by all… particularly my mother.  And seeing her have a good time and truly enjoying herself was what it was all about after all.  Besides, I can always go back and check out that zoo on my own sometime!