And For Her Next Stunt . . .

The book was called First Time Around the World. As if there might be a second or third time I embarked on such a journey. I could barely fathom planning a year of travels, let alone actually making it happen, so once would definitely be enough for me.

Having lived with myself for thirty-six years now, I don’t think my love of “big” trips is a fad. “Maybe one day you’ll travel for a week at a time, like most people,” my mother said after I returned from my most recent travels. “Mmmm,” I responded, wondering if one week in a place would ever be enough.

It surely doesn’t help that I have a proclivity toward travel-based memoirs. And people don’t tend to write about their week-long sojourns. My heart speeds up when I head into the travel writing section of the bookstore. Tales of a Female Nomad, Vagabonding, One Year Off. On this balmy Saturday I spent more than an hour on a beach towel with my nose tucked into An Embarrassment of Mangoesa couple’s tale of their two year hiatus sailing the Caribbean. I read with great interest the money part–how they figured out what it would cost. But then I realized they took this trip nearly twenty years ago.

Speaking of outdated numbers, my copy of First Time Around the World is seven years old. Yes, me, the girl who loves getting rid of stuff, has actually held onto a book for seven years. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, though, I can now find more accurate figures for this supposed trip. And just today it hit me: the money my father has saved for my wedding could fund an entire year of traveling. One day versus an entire year. Need I say more? Yes. I probably need to say, “Oh Daddy dearest . . . about that wedding money . . . ”

I called him just now. “That would be a little drastic,” he told me.

But here’s the thing: I’ve got three years. I’m thinking a year around the world will be my fortieth birthday gift to myself–not from Dad, but from me. So my plan is to save that chunk of money.

Or I can look at it this way: I’ve got three years to convince my father that visiting places he’s probably never heard of is going to make his first-born a lot happier than spending all that money on a one day event that, most brides say, goes by so fast they don’t remember much of it at all.

Weddings – Thankfully, Not My Own

I’m not one of those girls who has always imagined what my wedding day would be like.  In fact, I haven’t thought much about it at all.  But I’ve been present for the stress and cost of plenty of weddings – so much so that I’ve told my mother for years that my wedding will be in the backyard.

“At least call it a Garden Party,” she said.

Since then, I added another detail: my wedding will be potluck.

“Potluck?  Really?” my mother asked.

“Yup.  No gifts.  I don’t need anything.  I just want Grandma to make her meatballs, Aunt Lia to bring her Taco salad, Mrs. Repko to bring a pie.”

“Pie?  You’re going to have pie at your wedding?”

“Sure – why not?  No one eats the cake anyway.”

My mother didn’t have too much to worry about – I wasn’t dating anyone.  When people asked me about my future with the last guy I dated I declared, “He’s the kind of guy I’d like to have live next door.”

Well, on Christmas day, my youngest sister got engaged.  Shortly thereafter, I found myself at the kitchen table with her, her fiance, and my mother.  My mother, eager for another family wedding, was asking about guest lists and locations.  “How about the back yard?” my sister asked.

“Hey – I want to get married in the back yard,” I said.  “Her wedding can be a dry run for mine!” My sister enthusiastically agreed.

My father piped in from the living room, reminding us of our slanted back yard.  “The front yard then!” we declared.  “That would be perfect!”  While dad tried to convince us the front yard was too small for 300 people, Mom interrupted.  “We need to stop talking about this,” she said.  “I’m getting sick to my stomach.”

“What? Why?” I asked.  “I always said I wanted my wedding here.”

“Yeah, but now that it’s a real possibility, it’s making me sick.”

As requested, we changed the subject.  My mother got up, poured herself a glass of wine, and returned to the table.  A few sips of wine later, her nerves were calmed enough that she permitted us to again talk about a wedding at the house.

Eight months later, the planning for my youngest sister’s wedding is in full swing.  The reception will not be in the front yard. But I still like the idea myself.