Trip Planning Cent Un

I’m not sure what this is advertising, since I don’t speak a word of French, but if it’s for a restaurant, I won’t be going there. I don't really care for pork.


I’m so excited to begin Trip Planning Phase I for our trip to Paris and Rome later this year. I wish I was one of those people who can say, “Oh yes, we’re going to Paris this summer (Sigh).” And act like it’s an everyday occurrence for people to get on an airplane and fly to a country where English as a Second Language is an actual second language or even a third or fourth.

I want to be the kind of person who, when in a conversation about something entirely unrelated to travel, will say, “We did that when we were in Paris last year. Or wait, was it last year’s trip or was it our fourth trip, in ’06? I can’t remember (Hair flip).”

Or the person who will find the one not-so-wonderful thing about going to Paris and complain about it:  “I hate getting sick in Paris. It’s terrible and it can ruin your whole trip (Gwyneth Paltrow pout).”

Who am I kidding? I don’t want to be that person. I know that person and she’s tiresome. If you’re going to talk about your trip to Paris, it should be like this: “I’M SO EXCITED! I GET TO GO TO PARIS! OH MY GOD! YOU GUYS!

And if I had a choice to go to Paris and get sick with a kidney stone and the accompanying vomiting, fever, and mind-bending pain or not go at all, I’d take the stone and pass it by drinking the legal limit of wine.

Suffice it to say, I will not be the least bit cool when I’m in Paris. I will be a virtual Clark Griswold. I’m a Hubbard girl and going to Paris thrills the living shit out of me.

I say I get to start Trip Planning Phase I now, because we just bought our airline tickets and hotels for the trip today (followed by a short but spirited dance of joy), so there’s no turning back. I’ve planned other trips down to what we were going to get on our Sbarro’s pizza at the Atlanta airport on layover, only to have the whole trip scrapped and my trip plans fizzle. So this time, I waited until it was set in nonrefundable-airline-ticket stone.

We’ve taken one other huge vacation as a family and that was four years ago, to Ireland and England. (And before you start thinking we’re these big travelers, keep in mind that I’ve only been to Canada once and I’ve never ever been to California, not even a little bit.) Because I’ve earned the reputation of over-planning to the nth degree, my family begged me to leave a few details to fate. 

“But what if we can’t find a restaurant in Kensington that can seat five in non-smoking at 7:15, within walking distance of the palace on June 3, ‘Kensington Palace/Garden/Hyde Park/Upscale Shopping/Souvenir Day?’”

They assured me it would all work out. So I agreed to lighten up and did not pre-plan one single meal for the entire trip. The result was that we actually couldn’t find a restaurant in London when we were hungry one night, and ended up eating at the same Indian restaurant twice. We may as well have been at the hospital cafeteria waiting for a kidney stone to pass.

You can bet I won’t let that happen again. I’m already looking up restaurants on the Internet and in the 11 travel guides I’ve borrowed and bought. I’m putting together days in which food and activities will seemingly fall out of the Parisian sky and land right in our laps. It’ll be like we’re in a well orchestrated musical. My goal is to plan this trip so freaking thoroughly that we’ll have no reason to return to either Paris or Rome ever.

I think I missed my calling as a travel agent.

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