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Our Passports Have Dust On Them

Atlanta in Legos
Chuck Thu, 2016-09-22 07:00

We’re getting restless. Our feet are itchy. Our passports have dust on them. But new plans are being made…

We blinked and the last four months are gone. Our travels might not have been overly exciting since our last blog, but we haven’t exactly sat still. It’s been a summer full of new grandbaby, wedding preparation, some local and regional travel (including a couple of stateside house sits), more work than I’ve been used to in a while, dance lessons, and some occasional time for fun with friends, a couple of concerts (Jimmy Buffett, Phillip Phillips with Matt Nathanson), some ancestry research, and deciding what travels are next.

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Meet Felix, our first grandbaby. He was due June 1st, which was comfortably a few weeks after we were scheduled to be back in Atlanta. But on April 25th, he had other ideas. It’s hard to tell now that Felix was 6 weeks early. His smiles melt our hearts and he has affected how we think of long-term travel stints, but don’t think for a moment we’re going to leave our passports on the shelf so we can be doting grandparents.

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In just a few more days, our daughter Catie will be married. Preparing for her wedding and getting to know baby Felix were the main reasons we’ve been hanging out in Atlanta for so long. There have been wedding showers and parties, lots of craft-making, dress fittings, venue visits, beer-buying, champagne-sampling, dance-teaching, and you name it. Our friends’ basement could be mistaken for a liquor store warehouse, and their dining room table looks like craft central. But, according to my nifty countdown app, in 5 days, 3 hours, and 16 minutes (from when I write this, even less from when you read it) all the preparation will be over and the ceremony underway. Then the party begins. Please don’t call me before noon the next morning.

Work—that necessary evil—has been a challenge all summer, if for no other reason than I’m not used to having this much of it. It has taken us a few interesting places, like Princeton, New Jersey and Dallas, Texas, and as we head into the fall, I see light at the end of the work tunnel.

We’ve had a bit of fun travel too, visiting our “out laws” in Maryland, including a day at the Gettysburg battlefield, visiting family in Gulfport a couple of times, and attending a high school band reunion. Chuck has even made a breakthrough or two on ancestry research. But we’ve never taken our eye off the travel calendar. Here’s something new:

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This is actually part of our longer-term travel strategy. Our downsizing continues (we traded in both our cars, including our beloved Chrysler Crossfire, for this truck with "best-in-class towing capacity", as we were told), with the plan that one day in a couple more years we’ll hook up one of these:

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Just exactly when that is remains a bit of debate among the two of us, but RV’ing across North America definitely lies somewhere in our future.

Looking a little closer to today on the travel calendar there are a couple of trips of note. First, in October, comfortably past the wedding and house & pet sitting for the honeymooning couple, we set off for 2 days in New York; 8 days on the Norwegian Gem with stops in Antiqua, Nevis, St. John, and St. Maarten before pulling into Puerto Rico; 4 days in San Juan; and 2 weeks on the island of Guadeloupe. Then, as promised, we are home for Thanksgiving (the first time in a few years). It's a much-anticipated post-wedding 4-week Caribbean decompress.

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New Orleans, about 1880; the Big Easy has proven an important part of Chuck's ancestry research.

Early December we’re off to visit family and then on to New Orleans and Memphis for some ancestry research. After touching base in Atlanta for the holidays, we'll begin our “Round The World 2017” adventure. Here’s what is booked so far: 5 days in Hawaii; 30 days in the Philippines; and 5 days in Singapore. After that, here’s what we have in mind: a week to 10 days on Bali; 3 weeks in Australia (split pretty evenly between Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane/The Gold Coast); 2 weeks in Thailand; 2 to 3 weeks in England; 4 or 5 nights in Iceland; and 4 or 5 nights in Toronto.

The one thing that is certain: we’ll be back in Atlanta by April 25th for Felix’s first birthday.

You know, it’s good to be back at the blog. You might have noticed some changes. On our home page we’re promoting our new small group tours, inaugurating in the fall of 2017. There’s our Portugal Grape-Stomping Tour and our Dance-Queen Mary 2 tour. We moved our blog to http://www.chuckandlori.com/travel_blog. You might also have noticed our new “Journey’s” page: a place for Chuck to vent some of his creative writing.

Welcome back, and stay tuned!

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(This is what a lot of our 2017 travels should look like.)