Monday, June 23, 2008

Three weeks. Three continents. One carry-on bag.

We're leaving on a trip this week. A big trip. I know we just moved to the other side of the world, and generally that would be enough travel to tide us over for a while, but when opportunity knocks you'd best answer the door. So we are off. Vancouver. Scotland. Tokyo. In three weeks.

How did we arrive at this itinerary, you ask? It's a long story. Here it goes: Chris is presenting a paper at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland in mid-July. He figured he would use the opportunity to stop over for a few days and see his family in Vancouver on the way to Scotland. (I was way jealous.) Then his folks were nice enough to help us out with another ticket so I could go along. (I was way excited!) Chris's family also invited my parents up to Vancouver while we're there, so we are thrilled to see both sides of the family during our limited time in Canada.

When we were booking the tickets, the travel agent told us we'd have to connect in Tokyo on the way home from Scotland. Japan has been on our list of dream trips for a long time, and since the ticket price was the same whether we stopped over for four hours or four days, we added a four-day stop in Tokyo.

So that's the plan: family reunion in Vancouver, work trip in Scotland (for my darling Christopher, anyway ... I'm just going to be hanging out, touring castles and eating haggis), pure vacation in Tokyo. Three continents, three weeks. Crazy.

As far as the one carry-on bag ... it is true. Chris and I are limiting ourselves to one carry-on bag each. For three weeks. Stop looking at me like that. It's okay. Really. For one thing, we are taking lots and lots of planes, and some connections are involved, so checked luggage would be a catastrophe waiting to happen. For another thing, we can easily do laundry at Chris's parents house, and I am told they have laundromats in Scotland and/or Japan. (In my experience laundromats are also a good place to meet highly colorful locals. Bonus!) Finally, I like being married, and the odds of me staying married increase exponentially each time I manage to pack light. Chris lugging my heavy suitcases all around the world = cranky husband = less fun had by all.

Three weeks of vacation feels like a very long time. I remember when I took two weeks off of work to visit New Zealand in 2007 and that felt outrageously indulgent. People here -- at least the academics I've met -- don't seem to think twice about traveling for 3-4 weeks at a time, and all of the Kiwis I've met are extremely well-traveled. Maybe it's because it takes a long time to travel anywhere from here, so if you're going to take the time and money to go all the way to North America or Europe you'd might as well make the most of it.

I will try to post updates of our trip from the road but realistically I don't know how often I'll be checking the computer. Hopefully I'll have some good pictures and some exciting adventures to share. The good kind of adventure. We'll see how it goes. Talk to you soon!

As we sign off, let's all wish a very happy half birthday to Fox! I hear I missed a raging party.

Addendum: In response to reader concerns, let me assure everyone that the dogs are staying in a very fine, highly-recommended facility while we are gone, complete with numerous play areas and underfloor heating. No more doggie jail. Doggie resort.


audrey and josh said...

What a whirlwind of a vacation! And I have to ask -- is Chris Canadian?? My dear husband Josh is a Canadian (and darn proud of it!)and I think it would be pretty crazy if an American and Canadian got married and then moved to NZ -- and then it was repeated by another American-Canadian pair. Hmm... meant to be?? :) Have a great trip and Happy Canada Day!

Tom said...

Hooray! Scotland! Come for the whiskey, stay for the haggis...Have a GREAT time!

elizabeth said...

We missed you terribly at the half-birthday party. Your trip sounds awesome, and I am way jealous. I am also jealous of underfloor heating - that sounds lovely (except that it is 92 here in ATL). Also I am jealous that you did not have to enter time today - I hate Tuesdays.

We want to hear all about the trip!!