Monday, January 23, 2012


I'm planning a trip. The journey's months away, details have yet to be hammered out, but we—me, husband, and daughters--are going.

The anticipation's delicious.

Cloudless skies, intriguing cities, and charming towns await us.

But only if we thwart missed connections, pickpockets, and food poisoning.

Kecia Adams recently returned from a family ski vacation. It prompted her to write about expectations versus reality.

I don't want to set myself up for disappointment, so every third time I squee with excitement about the upcoming trip, I make myself envision a hitch. This isn't hard as past family vacations are littered with them.

In New Orleans, as we crossed the street amidst a throng of tourists heading for the Café du Monde, my younger daughter became separated from the rest of us. I thought she was holding my husband's hand; he thought she was holding mine. We didn't realize our child was missing until we settled in chairs at the café. Twenty-odd years later, my throat tightens when I remember how we lurched toward the street calling our little girl's name. A lady clown approached, hand-in-hand with our daughter. "I asked her where her parents were, and she said 'Beignets,'" the clown told us.

My older daughter was in her terrible teens when we took a trip to Big Bend National Park. OD didn't just refuse to hike, she refused to get out of the car.

On a trip to Germany, my younger daughter lost her passport.

The New York City sight seared in my family's memory isn’t the Statue of Liberty, and it's not the Empire State Building. Instead, it's a rat rooting around the subway tracks. The upside is that now we know what David Letterman's talking about when he rants against rats in his monologues.

We've learned from the big and small hitches and know our trip won't be perfect. So what? We'll see places we haven't seen before--and we'll learn things about ourselves and each other.

I'm planning a trip.


Coleen Patrick said...

Here's to the getting excited part! I love the planning and dreaming part of a trip.
On the other hand my daughter is heading overseas to study for 2 months -and I'm doing a lot of thinking about passport safety, etc!!!
Embrace the excitement, right?

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Exactly, Coleen, embrace the excitement. At the same, time, I know what you mean about passport safety. I keep eyeing metal passport cases that supposedly block thieves from stealing identification. At the same time, I tell myself a messy purse is my best protection. I defy a device to "see" through the jumble inside. Here's to your daughter's trip!

Lark Howard said...

Sounds terrific, Pat! I love planning trips, especially to places I've never been before. With the internet, there are so many more options than there were years ago when I first started traveling.

Sometimes the hitches end up being some of the best travel stories in my experience, although they seem horrible at the time.

Sarah Andre said...

How fun, and even the crazy memories are memories, right?

Most of my family reunions these days eventually get down to the "remember when" stage and it's those exact scenarios we bring up and laugh (or argue) over. Odd how adult memories of childhood events change from person to person, even when each of us was "standing right there..."!

Enjoy your trip and the wonderful planning stage, Pat!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

You're right, Sarah. We bring up and laugh over these scenarios--except the time we misplaced our little girl. I don't laugh about that one. Now, if only my daughters would stop talking about the rat!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Here's to the hitches, Lark!

Marcy Kennedy said...

Planning is so exciting! My husband doesn't understand it, but part of the pleasure I get from any trip we take is from the planning and the anticipation. And like your family, we sometimes encounter hitches (thankfully we've never lost a passport), but sometimes those hitches make for the funniest memories to recount later :)

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

I'm surprised you've had time to unpack from your trip to NYC, Marcy. Congrats on all the agent interest you and Lisa attracted.

Trip planning is super-sized fun for me, and you're right, it's because of anticipation. My husband doesn't understand the thrill I get from dealing with details, but he's happy I'm willing to do the work. Win-win, right?

Patricia Rickrode w/a Jansen Schmidt said...

I love to plan trips. I plan for months before the big event. I overpack in anticipation of every imagineable weather episode, I bring every item in my medicine cabinet - just in case. The thrill of planning is just as anxious as the trip. I will admit that oft times the first day of vacation finds me completely exhausted from all the planning and packing. But, fortunately most of the vacations turn out really nice. I can't think of a vacation that had a horrible hich, except my first honeymoon, which is so far in my past and part of the memories I'm trying to forget anyway it doesn't matter.

I hope you have a wonderful time whenever and where ever you go.

Patricia Rickrode
w/a Jansen Schmidt

Jennette Marie Powell said...

Anticipating the hitches is a great way to be prepared for them! And the way that usually works is, since you planned for them, they won't happen. At least that's what I'm hoping for when I travel overseas this summer!

farouk said...

i wish you a great trip :)
i need a good vacation as well