The problem with travel is that, the more places we’ve seen, the more places we want to see. Travel is either addicting or the Creator keeps adding to the world.
If you’re reading this shortly after I’ve scheduled it to be published, then at this moment we are probably waiting in line to board the Queen Mary 2 for our ride home. This 7 months in Europe has been our longest stint yet, and it might be the last we will enjoy for a little while. Previously when asked how long we plan to do this “nomad thing”, we’ve said at least until the grandchildren start showing up. Well, our first is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow–May 11–shortly after we will fade out of cell range to the west of Ireland. It’s not how we would have preferred it. We had booked our ride home on the Queen Mary before we even knew we were to be grandparents, and even then he wasn’t due until June 1. But as a good friend told me, it’s like these babies have minds of their own.
So while other of his grandparents will be on hand for his birth, we’ll splurge on the maritime cell phone minutes to get news of baby Felix’s arrival and then dance the evening way with some champagne to celebrate a new era in our lives.
(UPDATE: a few hours after I wrote the above, baby Felix decided he was tired of waiting. Though 5 weeks early, he’s a healthy 5 pounds 7 ounces and doing fine. The plans to celebrate will begin the moment we get on the QM2!)
To time this blog to come out the day we leave Europe, we’ve necessarily had to glaze over a lot of great experiences in the last couple of weeks. We toured the Glengoyne Scotch distillery in Scotland, visited 9 of England’s cathedrals, saw “Book of Mormon” on London’s West End, toured “Red House” (the home of the founder of the Arts and Crafts movement) and “Chartwell” (Winston Churchill’s family home), saw the white cliffs of Dover, and polished up our ballroom dancing with lessons at the Len Goodman Dance Academy (of “Dancing With The Stars” and “Strictly Come Dancing” fame).
We admit, it’s going to be great to be home with our kids for a few months. As we are getting to know little Felix, we’ll also be busily preparing for our daughter’s wedding in September. Catie and Ryan might not realize it, but the celebration will last all summer: the wedding is really only the formal culmination of the months-long party. And then there’s work: it’s heated up lately and deserves a few months of concentrated attention on Chuck’s part. Not to mention that I plan to focus again on finding an agent and publisher for my book.
Baby, wedding, and work in mind, we’re home basing in Atlanta until year end. We’ll be staying with friends, with the occasional short trip here and there, including visits to Mississippi (to retrieve our very much missed Crossfire roadster), Jacksonville, Memphis, and even a house sit in downtown Atlanta for the July 4th week. We’ll brush up on our dancing with some lessons. Chuck might get away to a writers conference or two. And we’ll contemplate our long term travel opportunities, as suggested in our travel wish list map:
These pins are almost all places we’ve never been but would like to visit (only a very few are places we’ve been but would like to return to). I think it fair to say we are “well traveled”; nevertheless, there are (obviously) many more places in the world to see than we will likely have time to visit. That actually is somewhat comforting.
You can be assured that we are going to try and see as many of them as we can. We already have a month in the Caribbean planned for October and November after the wedding. We’ll be taking a repositioning cruise on the Norwegian Gem from New York to Puerto Rico, with stops in the US Virgins, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua (well, there’s a few pins off the wish map). From there we will spend a few weeks at our favorite, secret spot in the Bahamas. After spending this past fall, winter, and spring in Europe, we’ll be ready for something like this:
We’ll be home for the holidays, Thanksgiving to New Year, this year as we promised the kids last year. We look forward to Felix’s first Christmas and Catie and Ryan’s first holidays as husband and wife. We look forward to, in short, just being with our growing family.
But after the new year, our travel addiction will certainly get the best of us again. From January to May we plan to work our way westward around the world, with stops in Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, and perhaps also Hong Kong and Vietnam, before swinging through the UK on our way home. We’ll be home in Atlanta for Felix’s birthday and the early summer. Come August it will be back to Europe and other than (we hope) a tour of Portugal with a group of friends and family, we don’t have specific plans. Yet.
Being out on the ocean for the next week, and with baby and wedding and catching up with friends once we get back, we don’t plan to blog for a while. Once we do, there might be a few changes. Expect a special section of our site dedicated to documenting our exploration of England’s cathedrals, more creative writing, and a good bit more emphasis on our plans for taking small tour groups to some of our favorite places.
Here’s to travel, to new eras in life, to family and friends. Peace and happy trails to you and your family.