When we had begun traveling as a couple waaaaay back in our twenties, we were happily living in South America, learning Spanish and planning one day to visit Spain. Stanley’s maternal grandparents grew up there. His mother had cousins there. Spain had always been the one place we wanted to go. But we simply didn’t.
Nearly forty years later, our Spanish is no longer fluent, we’ve lost contact with cousins and wonder how we could have neglected that glorious country for so long. Poor Spain. It kept getting put off as other, more immediate locales replaced it. How did this happen? I hadn’t a clue and needed to make good on this long-lost promise. We had better hurry before our language skills disappeared completely, like our ability to make good decisions.
We needed to get to Spain. But Stanley wanted to visit the Baltics. Costs, preferences, time: travel planning can be a bit like finger-painting – it’s messy and you never know how it’s going to turn out. I have figured a way to do everything we wanted, but it might just be a bit of tangled finger-painting on a broad canvas of travel.
2016 will be the year of dual transatlantic cruises as I finally found a way to avoid the costs of expensive one-way airfare: ignore the one-way ticket, buy the usual round trip and go twice to Europe from the west coast of the USA. Take an extra vacation as a way of avoiding high costs in the first vacation? You may ask if that’s really a good idea. I refer you back to the implication in the paragraph above – perhaps we are not making good decisions at all. We’ll see. Here’s how the planning went:
The one-way transatlantic cruise to the Baltics was reserved for April. I knew I could avoid an expensive one-way return airfare by purchasing round trips. The round trips would take us back to Europe sometime within a six-month period. I found another even cheaper and much shorter transatlantic cruise back to the states in October. Voila! A trip to Spain emerged between the second stage of the round-trip airfare and the second transatlantic cruise.
We will be making good on a promise that we made nearly 40 years ago. We can postpone building our view deck, as we have been for two years already, save wildly between now and then, and all should stay within the new, improved travel budget for 2016. 2017 might suffer a bit (a lot), but there’s no worry in that until next year.
Good decision? We’ll see. Next year, we’ll spend 40 days on cruise ship travel, 40 days on land travel. For someone who swore never to cruise again after the first one, it’s a bold choice. But perhaps a nice way to celebrate a 40th anniversary all year long.