On the Eve of the Trip

Robert and I leave Thursday for a true dream trip, our “P2” trip to Paris and Prague. We’ll be in Paris on our own and in Prague with family.

We are grateful beyond words to The Grandmothers, who will be holding down the fort with the three amigos. We’re also thankful for our village of teachers, carpoolers, Brownie leaders, bus drivers, childcare providers, and surrogate grandparents who will care for them faithfully in our absence.

It feels very indulgent, even selfish, to be gone from them for a trip like this.

Then again… this wild and precious life is the only one we get.

I don’t intend to blog while I’m there, but I have pre-set some posts to go live while I’m gone, and I was thinking I might post a photo or two while over there. We’ll see.

I’ve written here about my work with The Happiness Project. Rubin is big on monthly resolutions, which I call intentions because it sounds a little more gracious and less rigid. I have a couple of intentions for the trip:

1. To have a “splendidly imperfect” trip. The term comes from the writer/artist SARK. In this context, it reminds me that snafus happen and that it’s OK and can be the beginning of an adventure. It also reminds me to live more fully in this experience, even if it means risking a faux pas. (I am nervous that we don’t know the language, and I can already predict that I will mistakenly lapse into Spanish in my effort to communicate.)

2. To experience the trip “Sabbathly,” that is, to be more about soaking things up rather than checking them off.

3. To spend quality time with Robert.

Robert and I have been amused to find our roles reversed for this trip. He is a P on the Myers-Briggs; I am a J. And yet this time around, he has been the primary driver on making plans, and I have felt very reluctant to do any planning at all, preferring to let our intuition and mood guide us. Part of that is because preparing our household for 10 days of smooth functioning is about all I can handle logistically.

Part of it is also the demon of perfectionism. I’m the procrastinating sort of perfectionist, which means I get stuck in my head, where everything can still be theoretically perfect. (Can I get an Amen?) There is no way we will be able to “do Paris well” in five days, so why even try? Heck, the Louvre alone is said to take 9 months!

This becomes a self-defeating attitude. Without at least a smidgen of planning, we will miss some cool stuff. So we have some general ideas of things we want to do, but will see how the weather and our energy levels guide us each day. I think we have met in the middle as we almost always do—it’s just funny that we started on opposite sides of the organizational divide this time.

Are you a planner while on vacation? Do you set goals or intentions?

And is there an adventure (far-flung or close to home) that your wild and precious life is calling you to?

6 thoughts on “On the Eve of the Trip

  1. Jules

    Yes! After our success at having a wonderful time in Maui this year, we spun the globe and decided to try South America next. We’re going to Argentina next summer, the Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

    I set goals, but leave room for happy accidents and unforeseen adventures, too.

    This is one of the best parts of being mostly-empty nesters.

  2. sherry

    I set intentions…most of my travel has been with my daughter while she was age 6-13….intentions are the best we could do and it was WONDERFUL.

    My wild and precious life is calling me to again try to go to Peru for a nine week Tropical Medicine certification course.

    I was signed up for this course 5 years ago when the timing was in sync with the developmental places of my children….then came Katrina….

    The timing is again looking to be in sync….so, God willing and the wind don’t blow..

  3. Kelly

    I am so excited for y’all! I know you will have a wonderful time.

    In case you’re open for suggestions for Paris, here are mine:

    1. I’d choose Musee d’Orsay over the Louvre. You still get to see incredible works of art (Starry Night, impressionists) but it’s in a converted train station and you can go through it a lot quicker.

    2. Monet’s giant water lillies at L’Orangerie. Stunning.

    3. Shopping on Rue Cler – sort of in the Eiffel Tower district. Great street with all the shops – brasseries, chartruceries (keep in mind, it’s not even 7 a.m. here and I’m trying to spell these French words – so pardon my French!), gelato, cheese shops, etc.

    4. Paris Walks – walking tours of Paris led by British ex-pats. HIGHLY recommended. I’ll look up the site later.

    5. Shopping on Rue St. Louis (I think) – on Isle de la Cite. For me, a good boutique shopping street.

    Just some ideas.

  4. Rachel Heslin

    Sounds lovely and perfect in its imperfections! (My grandpa used to speak bad Spanish very loudly and slowly in France. :P)

    My husband and I are headed to Hawaii for a week with Hunter on Saturday, and we, too, are trying to find that balance between planning and experiential whim. I like to get as much information as possibly ahead of time and group it into series of potential contingency plans so that, depending on what circumstances actually present themselves, we have options.

    And, yeah. I totally understand needing to consciously choose to be open to inevitable imperfections. In our case, Hunter’s glasses and my car breaking down ended up eating almost $1,000 that we’d hoped to have with us on the trip to do things while we’re there, but y’know? We’re still going, and I’m sure we’ll have a wonderful time.

    (And I’m sure you will as well!)

  5. Rachel Heslin

    Oh, and don’t worry too much about the language. Just remember excusez-moi, s’il vous plait, and merci, and try to fake the accent to make yourself more easily understandable to French ears; and as long as you come across as warm and open, most people will be delighted to help you.
    : )


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