In a million years I would not have imagined what I am about to do. Never say never and I have more or less agreed to never again, but that’s all changed now.
My friend, Sue, grumbled over lunch last fall that her girlfriend wasn’t in good health for travelling anymore. They’d been friends a long time and had been all over Europe together. Sue wanted a new adventure: something to look forward to, new places to see, something exciting in her life.
“Where would you like to go?” I asked.
“I’ve been all over Europe and back. I’d like to go to Australia.”
I heard a little voice say, “I’ll go with you.”
Where had that come from? I hadn’t been thinking about travelling and haven’t been interested for about seventeen years. Not at all. I’m not sure which one of us was more surprised. Sue’s brows rose an inch or two over the top of her glasses. My eyes bugged out; I cleared my throat. It only took a second to clear my head and I said again, “I’ll go with you.” Still a little shocked, I realized I meant it. I wanted to go on a trip.
Long story shorter, Sue began checking out trips and suggested I pick up some brochures to compare prices. Of course the expected didn’t happen. To travel so far for only eight or ten days seemed ludicrous. In the vicinity of twenty days sounded better. I don’t go big; I go Gi-NORMOUS.
Sue noticed an advertisement for a 17-day China trip for a ridiculous sum—think bargain basement. For a shorter trip to Australia, the cost would total two China trips or more. Who-hoo. We changed our minds. It was meant to be, but wait, there’s more. I’m nothing if not spontaneous. Did I mention I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal? Sue had a travel agent she liked. We talked. And talked. The agent told us of a 24-day trip for a mere $400.00 more. What? I might have had a hot flash had I been younger. That’s a lot of Chinese food and it won’t be take-out, or the same as in North America.
For five years, I’ve been the built-in babysitter for my grandchildren. Sue worried I’d get her hopes up and not manage to absent myself for almost a month. Did you read that? Almost a month. I felt I was busting out. This wasn’t unlike a jail break. Really? You must nod here so I don’t feel guilty. Ha. I do NOT! This is an o.p.p.o.r.t.u.n.i.t.y. made in heaven.
Shoot the moon. I am. Among one of the reasons I bought my iPad Mini was for this trip. However, I have since realized I won’t be using it for journalling. Have you tried one of those sprite-size keyboards? I will use it for photos and hopefully a video or two. As well, I won’t need to pack a ton of books to read on the plane. Again, never say never. Moi reading electronically? It’s useful.
We will leave Toronto on March 28th at 6:30 p.m. our time, and arrive in Chicago at 12:55 a.m. with a five-hour layover. Beijing will welcome our arrival at 15.40.
Tune in again next Friday.