Passive's my travel modus operandi
You won't see a column from me in the next few weeks. I'm going to Europe. This is something I've wanted to do for years. I thought I'd missed the Atlantic-crossing boat by not spending the obligatory "semester abroad" as a college student. Back ...
You won't see a column from me in the next few weeks.
I'm going to Europe.
This is something I've wanted to do for years.
I thought I'd missed the Atlantic-crossing boat by not spending the obligatory "semester abroad" as a college student. Back when I was in college, people didn't seem to spend semesters abroad.
Everyone was too busy with toga parties, "Days of Our Lives" and perms.
After college, I never seemed to have the foresight or vacation time to plan a European trip. Not to mention the cash flow. (When you drive a 14-year-old Oldsmobile Firenza sans AC or working speakers, you don't have delusions about lounging in a Swedish spa.)
Once I got married, husband Irwin didn't seem particularly interested in traveling to Europe. And so I thought I was resigned to a lifetime of hearing about other people's European vacations and politely wading through their Eiffel Tower pictures.
But one day while having breakfast with Irwin's family, I made an offhanded remark about wanting to go to Europe someday. My sister-in-law, an experienced traveler, jumped all over it.
"Let's go," she said. "We'll go together."
Now, two years later, our breakfast brainstorm has become reality. I've got my passport. I've purchased "travel-ready" shirts that won't crumple if stored under an elephant for a week. I've broken in two pairs of comfortable shoes. I've streamlined my getting-ready ritual so that all appropriate soaps and cosmetics fit into
3-ounce bottles in one 1-quart bag.
I've also had all the appropriate nightmares, including:
E The one in which the plane is leaving in a half-hour - and I haven't packed yet.
E The one in which I miss the plane entirely.
E The one in which I get on the wrong plane and wind up in Iceland, then find I only packed a tube top. (Actually, it wasn't the thought of winding up in Iceland that made me wake up in a cold sweat. It was the thought of wearing a tube top.)
Still, despite a few anxiety attacks, this has been the ideal traveling arrangement. My sister-in-law is an efficient,
take-charge person with lots of European travel experience. She seems to thrive on making travel plans, organizing schedules and coordinating with travel agents.
I, on the other hand, am a passive, just-tell-me-when-I-need-to-show-up traveler. I hate hashing out details and crafting travel itineraries. I've been content to know she'll lead me safely somewhere through Germany, Austria and Norway.
This baffles others who are also "take-charge" travelers. When they ask about my itinerary, I mumble something about the mineral spa in Baden-Baden and the "Sound of Music" tour. They seem horrified that I haven't memorized every stop along the way and can't whip out a detailed Power Point presentation on every conceivable attraction.
They seem especially concerned when I can't tell them how we are getting from Germany to Norway.
"I don't know," I'll stammer. "We're strapping beer steins to our feet and floating across the North Sea? We're riding on the giant wings of a magic swan? Don't pressure me! All I know is I need to be at the Minneapolis airport at 1:30 p.m. sharp this Thursday and someone else will take charge of me at that time, OK?!"
The Apathetic Tourist.
Tammy Swift can be reached at email@example.com