The wait is over. Each year, as we inch closer to spring, I can feel my pulse quicken as I wait for the answer to this simple question: Where will they send me this year?
And in 2009, I was a little afraid the answer might be "nowhere". However, I am happy to report that I will be touring this year, again as an assistant guide with Europe Through the Back Door, and am in fact in the process of booking a plane ticket to Barcelona! In mid-May I'll be heading out, happy to assist on a seven day tour in San Sebastian, followed by a twelve day tour of Berlin, Prague, and Vienna (with one night thrown in in both Dresden and Cesky Krumlov for good measure). The time in Barcelona will be on my own; having never been to this city yet, how could I turn down this opportunity? I'm most grateful to Michael, who agreed that I should leave early for a chance to do some exploring in Spain before my tour begins, despite the fact that this means I will be flying out a couple of days prior to his birthday.
All my life, I have looked forward to travel. Always, potential trips are swirling through my mind, some dissolving before my eyes as other obligations take their place, some coming into clearer focus as actual dates are set. Even as a child, I longed for the day when I would see Europe for myself. I knew it would happen some day, I just wasn't sure exactly when.
As an adult my plans for travel didn't materialize as soon or as frequently as I had once hoped, but I bided my time. Some years ago, I had finally had enough, and convinced Michael that I simply had to go back to Germany. I could do it on the cheap, flying out in February, staying with family and friends, and avoiding the typical tourist traps, but I had to go. This trip, I also intimated, should satisfy me.
I'm wiser now. I took that trip to Germany, and was satisfied. For a little while. But wanderlust does not fade with time, and I have reached the point where the thought of not visiting some foreign soil (and Canada does not count) on an annual basis fills me with dread. It's a disease, you know. It eats away at you.
The good thing is, a temporary fix - travel itself. After a trip, I'm always so happy to be home. Everything is brilliant, new, exciting - Seattle, our house, Michael himself. In some cases, absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
Of course, it's only a matter of time, and not very much time at that, before I'm mentally planning my next escape. Here's hoping it's a good one!