Thursday, July 9, 2015

Honey, I Shrunk the World

I remember not so many years ago feeling so trapped and strapped for cash that I believed I would never get to travel to Europe. It would be forever out of the question, forever out of reach. My husband would never let me spend that much. I would feel too guilty leaving the kids.

For a travel and adrenaline junkie like me, these thoughts were death to my spirit. They sucked out any joy and hope. My world felt so small and boring.

If this at all sounds familiar, I am here to say what you're living through right now is NOT forever.

I recently returned from my 3rd trip to Europe in 14 months. I was hesitant to share this splurge with others, embarrassed to tell people at work or on social media. I didn't want to make anyone feel crappy seeing pictures.

But after reading a former colleague's inspiring blog about her path to her dream job, I feel compelled to share my story--about how I shrunk the world.

Comedienne Amy Poehler calls it "time travel." Her book was one of four I finished on this latest journey to Ireland and France. She and Norah Ephron kept me chuckling all the way to the Dublin Hilton, where I arrived after driving on the wrong side of the road in my stick shifted rental car with the steering wheel on the right side. I am woman!

There is little more empowering than traveling alone to a foreign country and renting a car. (Just follow the car in front of you at intersections and FOCUS.)

I was there to meet my daughter after her inaugural, college study abroad experience. Nicole was there for only 2 weeks, and I'm so proud of her for seizing the opportunity between non-stop workouts as a student-athlete at the University of Oklahoma. Most girls just want to go home and veg on their rare breaks. Nicole chose to take a class in Ireland. (Okay, I did add some serious mom pressure.)

Once we finally connected without the luxury of cell phones, we explored the city and countryside, toured the Guinness factory and a museum or two, and 24 hours later took off for Paris.
Sky Lounge at Guinness. Nicole traded hers for Coke.
Fat Bike Tours are the bomb

Spending four straight days with my little girl was a long time coming. I felt close to her again. As a mother. As a woman. We explored. Rode bikes. Met people. We did all of the things we used to do on our annual trips to NYC and the multiple basketball recruiting adventures we took during her super-exciting high school summers.

When I look at old Facebook pix, those times feel like forever ago.
UNC Chapel Hill
The UCONN girls. Yes, that's Maya Moore!
Forever love Coach Adrian. Duke.
Every bball trip always included adventure.
Our fav NYC. Balto.
Coach Gino

Our first & only B & B. "Misery" reenactment.
Sara Beth's at Central Park

Coach Haskell (and her cute son!) And the magnificent Coach Charlotte.

Those years flew by. I'm so happy we seized every single moment.

This girl has always been my favorite travel buddy. (and I have some great travel girlfriends!) I think the combination of protecting one's child while exposing her to world-expanding sights, sounds, people and conversations is an extraordinary experience. It even surpasses the free trip to Singapore some strangers gave me and my friend Leslie, a.k.a. Alice in Wonderland, when we were poolside in Bangkok, Thailand at age 19. It's a story I just divulged to Nicole about my Tokyo Disneyland days.

I'll be posting a full mother-daughter travel blog if you'd like to read the details of our European adventure. The bike tour to Monet's Garden in Giverny was a highlight!

But the main goal of this post to is to simply tell you to GO FOR IT. Plan that trip. Save that money. Create a travel fund and make regular direct deposits.

Fight for it.

It is so easy to fall into the dark spiral of "I'll never get to go to..."  "I'll never be able to afford to..."  Listen, I have counted on my American Airlines credit card for my foreign adventures. Paid less than $100 round-trip this last time.

You can do this.

You, too, can shrink the world.

Picnic in Giverny, France. Claude Monet's home.

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