On Friday, I will board a plane and head off to Italy. (Trivia: Guess how many countries I’m actually going to visit while I’m in Europe!) It’s been four years since we’ve been on a proper vacation, and we’re looking forward to it. My wife’s families are Italian, and she’s always wanted to go to Italy, and as my daughter is nominally a senior (whether she actually graduates in May is TBD), we want to make sure we can go on at least one more vacation before she becomes more adult-y and might not be able to go on vacations with us. I haven’t been to Italy since I was 7 years old, so, I mean, it’s sort of my first time going, as well.
We’re looking forward to it, of course, and we’re going to be very busy and see lots of stuff. On some vacations, you just want to relax, but we’re not going to some tropical island to sit on the beach, so we have a lot to do!!!! We’ll be there until the 23rd of October, and we won’t even go everywhere we want to – it’s a big country, yo! But we’re still looking forward to it.
I’ve been lucky enough to go to a lot of cool places in my life. My mom loved to travel, so she dragged us to a lot of nifty places, and my wife likes to travel, so we’ve tried to carve out some cool vacations during our lives together. We’re not quite as well-traveled as my parents – I mean, they went on safari in Kenya/Tanzania last year when they were 78 years old, and they went on a cruise of the Amazon the year before – but we do okay. So I’ve been on a lot of cool vacations. But my Question this Week is: What’s your favorite one?
This is really hard for me to answer. Back when I was a lad, we used to go to the Alps a lot in the winter, and that’s where I learned to ski. We went to Italy and saw Mout Etna erupt. When I was studying abroad in Melbourne, I went to Tasmania for a long weekend. In 1995, we went to New Orleans for a delayed honeymoon (we didn’t have any money when we got married!). We’ve gone to San Diego a few times during Comic-Con, but we went as a family, so it sort-of counts. We went to Victoria and Vancouver in British Columbia, and both are cool cities. I’ve been to Disney World twice!
I can’t really narrow it down, so here are my Top Five:
1. Egypt, 2006. It’s such a neat country, and the temples and pyramids and ancient stuff is amazing, and we did a cruise on a very cool boat up Lake Nasser, and we had an excellent time. Plus, my wife took this photo of me, and I dig this photo of me:
2. England, 2018. This is the most recent big vacation we took, and we had a blast. We stayed mostly in London, but we did go to Paris for a day, down to Hastings to hang out with an old friend whom we hadn’t seen in almost 20 years, and we zipped out to Bath and Stonehenge. Plus, I went to York for the day, ostensibly to meet a professor who wrote the book on Merovingian France, but when we didn’t connect (I had no phone, so we made plans to meet, but missed each other), I just wandered around York, which is a cool city. A good time was had by all!
3. Granada/Venezuela, 1999. We went on a sailing ship from Granada to Venezuela, and it was very relaxing and cool, because it wasn’t a huge ship, so it didn’t feel crowded, and we got to see some of Venezuela without having to stay in Venezuela. Look how relaxed we are:
We also like to joke that we get to places just in time. When we went to Egypt, Mubarek was still in power and he remained there until 2011, but after we went there, things started getting a bit dicey in the country. We went to Venezuela about six months after Chávez took over, when everyone still thought he was sane because he was, well, acting sanely. Things got noticeably worse not too long after we left. Even our England trip “counts” a bit, as less than a year after we were in Paris, Notre-Dame caught fire. We’re not sure if Italy electing a fascist in their latest election is our doing, but you can blame us if you choose!
4. France, 1985. My parents were friends with people in Germany, and they moved to Paris, so a few years after we moved back to the States, we visited them in France. The man knew French fluently (I’m not sure if his wife did, but I do know he did), so we were able to go around the city and not get looked down on by snooty French people for being ugly Americans (considering half of us weren’t ugly Americans, that was a good thing). We saw naked hookers on the ring road south of the Bois de Boulogne (I’m so not kidding; they were a major tourist attraction, it seemed), we ate at cool restaurants, and I crushed hard on their daughter, whom I had known several years earlier in Germany but who was now 16 or 17 (I was 14) and was super-hot. We played a good amount of table tennis in their rec room (not a metaphor, you filthy people!), and she kicked my ass, but I didn’t care! After we left Paris, we went south to the Loire Valley, then swung north to Mont-St.-Michel and Normandy. It was a very cool vacation.
5. Barbados, 1988. In between my junior and senior year, my family went to Barbados. There, I convinced 6-month-old Rihanna to go into music. You can’t prove I didn’t! It’s a nifty island, and we did some touring, but why I remember it so fondly was because one day we went on a cruise up the coast from Bridgetown on a (replicate) pirate ship. The rum was flowing freely, which I’m sure my parents didn’t mind, but the kids were allowed to climb up the rigging and swing out on ropes over the ocean and jump in, and it was fun as hell. I can’t imagine they allow that anymore – I’m sure some kid got eaten by a shark at some point so they had to stop – but man, that was a good day.
Now, if you ask me on a different day, I might have some different answers. But those were good vacations. I hope the one I’m about to embark on is as good! What are your favorite vacations? Don’t be shy!