by Kristan Hoffman
2 people, 6 months, 13 trips, 4 countries, 14 cities, and way too many frequent flyer miles to count. After all that, its official: I miss my bed.
Since August of last year, Andy and I have been traveling constantly, both for business and for fun. It feels like weve slept in every bed but our own, and I think our dog is starting to consider the kennel his real home. Our condo is just a place he visits sometimes, although its amenities do include complimentary chew toys.
At first, going to so many different places was exciting. Vegas, Europe, the Carolinas Andy and I flew everywhere for everything: to attend events, see family, work on a business project, and of course, take a real vacation. Pretty soon we finished all the airline crossword puzzles. Then Andy started saying the flights felt too long, but since I often fell asleep before takeoff and woke up after landing, I really had no idea what he was talking about.
Other than visiting our families in Houston and Rochester, NYwhich are always our favorite trips (Are you reading this, Mom and Dad?)I think there were 3 vacations that stood out from the rest of our Crazy Travel.
The first was Ireland. Andy had to go there for a conference, so we decided that I should tag along and make it our first international trip together. His conference was held in the tiny town of Nenagh, where I spent my days exploring (and re-exploring) all four blocks of the main square, and then writing in a wonderful little café. To many people that might sound boring, but I felt both exhilarated and relaxed at the same time. Theres something about Europes combination of cobbled streets and contemporary culture that puts my soul at ease.
When Andy was done working, he and I traveled to Dublin for the weekend. We toured the old jail, Trinity College, the infamous Temple Bar area, and the zoo. And of course no European trip would be complete without a castle and a cathedral. Pretty much the only things we didnt see were a leprechaun and pot of gold. But Ireland was as green, rainy, and hospitable as promised, and we really enjoyed our time together there.
A month later, just before Thanksgiving, we rendezvoused with my parents in Las Vegas to celebrate my twenty-fourth birthday and my dads ______ieth. (I dont think Im allowed to say how old he is.) My half-sisters met us there from Phoenix, and together we had a whirlwind couple of days. We visited Hoover Dam and Red Rock Canyon, and we saw Cirque du Soleils O as well as the Blue Man Group show. The whole weekend was a blast, but the best part was that my dad had his wife and all three of his daughters together to celebrate his milestone birthday.
Last but not least, Andy and I met up with his parents to attend and celebrate his younger brothers graduation from the US Marines boot camp. Ive never had a friend or family member in the military before, so that weekend at Parris Island really affected me. Anyone can have an intellectual opinion about our military, where it is, and what its doing. But when theres a body, a face, a person that you care about who is servingwhen your emotions get involvedthat changes everything. Rather than think about Andys brother being deployed, Ill just say that we were extremely proud of his accomplishment in becoming a Marine, and honored to have been a part of his graduation experience.
For better or worse, the end of 2009 meant the end of our Crazy Travel. Was it insane, expensive, and exhausting? Yes, absolutely yes. But was it worth every mile, every penny, and every minute away from my bed? Yes, absolutely yes.
by Kristan Hoffman