Are We There Yet?
The first time my husband and I traveled together it was pure romance. Early in our relationship he had plan to spend a better part of three months traveling through much of Eastern Europe and I, back home in New York, had tickets to visit a war zone for a month of R and R. But after a few weeks away from each other we had to finally admit that, well, we kinda missed each other. Being the fearless heart first type of gal that I am, I broke my piggy bank, counted my pennies, lied about my age and bought a student ticket to Vienna via Zurich, Stockholm, Nice, Amsterdam and London.
When I finally arrived in Vienna few days later, Hub was standing at the airport looking around like he lost his wallet. In honor of my arrival, he had booked into a much better hotel and ditched the dive that he had been staying in. There was no need, but I didn’t protest too much. I liked that in his mind, I was a traveler of high standards, a bon vivant, a woman of substance, even perhaps dear reader, a trophy wife in the making. Who was I to crush him with the truth of my less than dignified travel history of roach motels and youth hostels that looked more like over crowded Russian prisons? Since I began my stint as a world traveler somewhat early in life, I had applied the Barbizon philosophy. I may not have been a war correspondent, but I was going to look and travel like one.
Spending a few weeks with my then future husband in Central and Eastern Europe I began to get a glimpse of how the other half travels. The other half goes to all the museums. They see every recommended site listed in their Blue Guide. They may actually have a private guide. They go antique hunting. They care about eating in the best restaurants, and pack the proper shoes to do so. The other half does not, for example, strike up conversations with the locals in a bar. They don’t accept invitations to attend tribal weddings (or funerals), they do not eat snake brains just for the hell of it nor do they think a little case of dysentery is like another stamp in the old passport—it proves that you had been somewhere.
My husband may never know or perhaps he may never care to admit that though we travel very well together, we really do approach the whole endeavor differently. Because ever the adventurous one, I have learned to let go of all of my former travel habits (and I’ll admit that it was not difficult to trade bed bugs for a 5 star hotel, sight seeing, and museums).
So now, several years after our first trip together and with many trips under my belt with husband and kid in tow, I am a fully indoctrinated 5 star hotel ho who demands on all the fixin's.
But as my husband and I age, it seems that our approach to traveling has changed. As an expert in Art History, Archeology, mountaineering, and an antique road show know-it-all and gastronome extraordinaire, my husband needs to see every last sight, climb every mountain, shop for the rarest of all old beauties (but not too old). Usually he wants to do this in the shortest amount of time possible, which means that the whole family has to keep up. I, on the other hand being the mom that I am, want to dump the kids off with the complimentary hotel baby sitter and hit the spa. I never do but I have been known to fantasize about it the entire trip. I mean can't my old man just sit on a beach for a few days?
So this week, we are going on a trip that is sure to dazzle the senses. It won’t be a drug trip but I am sure it will have its moments where I wish, with an almost 5 month old and a 2 ½ years old kid that drugs, in heavy doses where involved. That's right, the whole SWC household is packing up and heading to India. Rajasthan, baby with a quick jaunt into Uttar Pradesh (Agra) to see the Taj Mahal, of course.
Am I fucking nuts?
Well there are a few planned 5 and half hours car rides on unpaved roads, the chaos of New Delhi, the I’m-not-sure-how safe-it-is air travel and the threat of the thousands of years old microbes that could do me in.
And there is our 8-hour flight from Hong Kong to Delhi. Thankfully, I have managed to get us upgraded to Business class.
We are leaving this Friday.