Living the Dream

At some point when I was in third or fourth grade, someone gave my family a stack of National Geographic magazines that spanned the last few years of the 1980s.  On the cover of the July 1989 issue was the picture above.  I had likely seen the Eiffel Tower before on TV or in movies, but this image was something else entirely.  I wanted to be in this picture, wanted to see this place.  I have wanted to go to Paris ever since.

In high school, I fell I love with Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, a book that made Paris look like a bohemian fuckfest for serious artists.  This, to be sure, did not dampen my enthusiasm for the city.  Sure, Miller was writing about the period Between The Wars, a bygone era stomped to death as the Nazis goose-stepped into the city in 1940, but… There was still that picture from 1989, the allure of history and art and romance.

I grew up, got a job and a family.  The workaday middle class world is not so much soul-crushing as it is time-consuming.  My dream of a vacation to France still flickered in the back of my mind, but it seemed no nearer than it had when I was rifling through that box of yellow magazines decades ago.

Fate–and family–intervened.  Because of the generosity of people close to us, Kristy and I are traveling to Europe this July.  This is unexpected and almost unbelievable.  But we have tickets, and an itinerary is coming together.  There are arrangements made for the kids and the guide dog–who are not going–and house sitters to care for the cat.  The next few days are all about preparation, and then we’re off.  Sixteen days in three major cities, a dream literally coming true.

It’s my goal to update this blog throughout our trip so that you will be able to follow our (mis)adventures in London, Paris, and Amsterdam.  If you have suggestions or questions, please comment below.  


About semiblind

Bringing you stark existentialism since 1981.
This entry was posted in best-laid plans, Europe 2015, family and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Living the Dream

  1. Karen Reeves says:

    The biggest tip I can give you is to write everything down on paper (or computer file) by date. Put down flight numbers, times, confirmation numbers, hotels, phone numbers, everything. It will keep you more organized when you can see it all at once while traveling. Print out everything and take it with you, and also leave a copy with your in-laws.
    Make sure you use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees and let them know what countries you will be in. For some foreign currency, use a bank atm that partners with your bank to avoid atm fees.
    The “Hop On Hop Off” bus tours give a great overview of the cities on the first days in them.
    Download some Rick Steves podcasts to listen to while on the plane.
    Have fun!!!

  2. Janet Amirault says:

    On managing risks, Paris is full of pick pickets so guard your possessions carefully and always carry an umbrella. Someone on our tour had their purse stolen at a restaurant and rain was frequent in July. In terms of thrills, July 14 is Bastille Day so if you’re there, getting up early for the military parade and choosing a picnic spot for seeing the fireworks is not to be missed. Our son’s birthday is Bastille Day, it was the highlight of our trip to Paris, despite the off and on rainstorms. A trip or walk down the Seine, walking to see the Arc de Triomphe and many other “famous” sights, eating at sidewalk cafés, picking up lunch at delis, simply just absorbing different neighborhoods in Paris since like Baltimore, NY, neighborhoods are distinct. And doing at least one local “tour” so you get a local’s perspective on their extraordinary city. Enjoy!

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