"Ireland would be fun."
This is Paul's response when I ask him how he would like to celebrate his 50th birthday. The thought of planning a week-long trip to Europe for the family does not sound "fun" to me at all. It sounds overwhelming and daunting. Infrequent travellers, our vacation destinations are usually to visit the grandparents and our biggest decisions involve what to order in the ice cream shop. Also, as anyone who knows me is well aware, flying is not my favorite activity. OK, actually, it terrifies me.
I have to admit--at first I try to talk him out of it. I suggest different ideas for his birthday milestone, to which he is amenable because he loves me...and he knows the whole Ireland idea is stressing me out. So, no Ireland. Problem solved.
I keep thinking about the idea though. I think, "If not now, then when? The kids are a good age for travelling and we can afford the trip. Come on, Allison, is this how you want to handle a challenge? By avoiding it all together? Rule number one: Figure it out."
Then I have to talk Paul back into it. I am both nervous and excited at the same time. We are going! Now comes the "figure it out" part. I wish there was a book called, "The Dummies Guide to a Week in Ireland for a Family of Four Who are not Experienced Travellers." There is not. There are, however, about a million other books, websites and sources of information. It is easy to get overwhelmed.
Luckily, my friend Allyson went to Ireland last summer with her family. She shared with me her experiences and itinerary. I am using it as the basis of our adventure because A: she is very organized and her tabbed notebook makes me happy and B: we have similar aged children so I figure what works for them would work for us. Rule number two: Don't reinvent the wheel.
Two weeks from today, we will be landing in Shannon, Ireland. I'm putting the finishing touches on our plans and working on the packing list. I'm wondering if I should convert to Euros before or after the debt ceiling vote. I'm hopeful that it doesn't rain too much. I'm thankful that Paul has agreed to drive the rental car. I'm proud that I am stepping out of my comfort zone to plan this adventure for our family. Happy Birthday, Paul. Rule number three: Have fun. Ireland, here we come!