A text message is not necessarily the best way to propose major plans or expenditures to your wife, or so I was about to learn. Just a couple of months ago, on December 29, I was riding a wave of good fortune at work that left me in a position to enjoy the lull in commerce between Christmas and New Years and take a few minutes to play fare-bingo on Kayak.com. Most people take off that week, or the one before, but I’ve always worked straight through; covering for colleagues who brave the treacheries of winter travel and doing business with the few poor souls who share my disdain for honey baked ham. 2010 had been a tumultuous year of ups and downs, but seeing as how I was riding high and hadn’t taken time off since summer vacation, I felt I was due to request some PTO (Paid Time Off). The only question was where and when.
Pardon my naiveté, but most normal men with a few years of marriage under their belt would start by consulting their wife, their partner. But I’m still new…and I didn’t want to get Jamie’s hopes up seeing as how we were on such a tight timeline…and most likely wouldn’t be doing anything special like our last trip…so there I was on Kayak.com, just looking.
Our last trip had been the event of a lifetime! We spent 10 days in Greece visiting the historical sites of the acropolis, eating Souvlaki on the beach and sailing around Santorini at sunset. At the time we resolved to prioritize travel for the next few years while our lives still afforded the flexibility of being a twosome. We didn’t mean beach vacations or visits home either, which although nice don’t exactly impart the type of moving experience that a trip to the Parthenon does. We meant big, international trips. Life changing experience.
With only a handful of vacation days to spare and the vague sense that March would work, the question was ‘Where?’ What could we do with just one week? What wouldn’t be too cold or far? Where did we both want to go? Paris sprung to mind because of the easy, direct flight, but I’ve been there and would rather go back when it’s warmer. Costa Rica is high on Jamie’s list but the flights were already pricey and after Kauai last year, I’m not thrilled by the prospect of rains. Africa and Australia would both require far more time.
I’d always dreamed of going to Israel. I’ve lost count of how many people told me it was ‘amazing’ and ‘you have to go there.’ The stories and images rack up every year. I remember considering birthright when I was 22. They offer FREE, yes free, trips to American Jews between the ages of 15 and 22. I chickened out at the prospect of taking 2 weeks off from work, living on someone elses schedule and the possibility of humble accomdations. I kick myself for it now.
Then there are the horror stories and fear inspiring tales spun through the media. Try booking a trip to Israel and inevitably someone will tell you not to go because it’s dangerous.
Every year at Sedar, we say ‘Next year, in Israel.’ Maybe I’m just brainwashed?
When we planned Greece, the original impetus was that my dear friend Eddie Krienik had invited me to join his family in Israel for his son’s Bar Mitzvah. After examining the airfare and considering the desert heat in August, we opted for Greece, but the seed was planted. A country the size of New Jersey could work given a week and the climate would be inviting. And the airfare was very well priced…
Being the smooth, thoughtful, romantic husband that I am, I decide to text my wife:
“Are you free the week of 3/12-20?”
“Want to go somewhere?”
And then my phone rang.
I’m lucky to be married to someone so patient and understanding, who is willing to be persuaded sometimes. She was a good sport about the whole thing. We bought a nice guidebook and started to do a little research. I put in for vacation time and booked the airfare. As with our last trip, we made a google spreadsheet and started planning. Correction, we actually did nothing for about a month and watched uncomfortably as the situation in Egypt unfolded. Then we came up with a plan and started getting excited. Now we’re just two days away and I’ve created a blog to share my travelogues with the world.
Oh, and I’ve limited my text messaging.