School was out. Our kids were grown and finished with college. Our savings were no longer needed for tuition. Now we could spend our money on travel. And as my daughter, the youngest, just reminded me: our son had been to London as a lure to keep him in college, Amelia had been to Tonga courtesy of the US government , Katie to Africa courtesy of her grandfather, Sia, the youngest, had been to the Yukon Territory canoeing down the Yukon river and swimming in Glacier Bay, and Sea had traveled frequently as a part of his business.
I decided it was my turn. Our first (free of kids) summer we took a cruise to Alaska. A ranger came on board when we were in Glacier Bay and every other sentence from him was “My, you have a beautiful day.” We did… except in Ketchikan. It rained and, as I have talked with others who have taken a similar trip, almost all have said, it rained.
The next summer we booked passage on the QE II with my sister. We were to take the ship to England, visit the races on the Henley and fly home. It was all arranged. Two weeks before the ship was to sail we were notified that the QE II would be in dry dock. Our trip was cancelled. We also found out that all of the additional plans were scuppered… no hotel, no tickets to the races. All gone.
I called my sister and we agreed… we would go anyway. We booked a round trip flight and found a hotel. We would go the races even if we weren’t in the Steward’s enclosure. We were right next to it. It seemed that Steward’s enclosure had no toilet facilities and there were no food vendors, so the fancy elite had to come to our side… the plain old side, to Tea and Pee.
My sister and I watched the people with all their fancy clothes and Sea watched the races reminding us now and then that that was the reason we were there.
And we did see the queen. She was riding down the street to open parliament and we were there with the throngs of locals and tourists watching her wave as she went by. A local woman explained to me that since she was waving to those on the other side of the street from where we were standing, when she returned she would wave at our side of the street. We didn’t wait to prove her right.
We were hooked on travel. Many trips were to follow, most on small cruise ships, our favorites, because they had open seating in the dining room so you could meet all the passengers eventually. They rarely had more than 100. There were lectures on local events and all the shore trips were part of the package.
Our son did finish college and has traveled frequently in his business. Katie and her husband just returned from Peru, one of many treks they have taken since their kids are through college. And Sia, the youngest did get to travel with her job and now with her husband, notably to New Zealand where we joined her for part of her trip.