Sunday, January 24, 2010

Taking a Trip, Not Taking a Trip

Before me squats a to-do list as long as the Giant Squid I saw on the telly yesterday, and yes, that really is an apt metaphor. The list contains such items as "find birth certificate and get pics for passport" and "customize two chapters for deadlined submission". "Write travel grant" is one that keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the list because I've never written a grant before, but the deadline is 5pm Friday so if the bulk of it isn't done today, I can kiss it goodbye.

It was during one of those snowed-in periods a few weeks ago I realized it's time to get out of this country for a while. Other than a short camping trip on Vancouver Island in 1977 and an afternoon in Nogales some time in the late 80's, I've never left the Estados Unidos. A year and a half ago, my dear brothers and sisters started a travel account in honor of my fiftieth birthday, intending to fulfill my childhood ambition of going to Paris, and it's grown by dribs and drabs ever since.

During those snow days, there were too many reports of people who died tragically in their own front yards, slipped and somehow froze before morning. A woman was killed by a snowplow in her own parking lot. People die all the time, often with no warning at all. A random bullet, a slippery sidewalk, a freak stroke. It came to me then that the travel account wouldn't spend itself.

Yet my desires have mellowed. Sure, it would be cool to hang around in the cafes, sip espresso where Beckett sat smoking and scowling, but I feel no sense of urgency about Paris. I still want to visit the Louvre before I die, and Shakespeare and Co., before or after, but if I only get one trip before a chunk of blue ice gets me, I want to go to Ireland.

A cousin, the family genealogist, has traced our family to Bunclody, near Enniscorthy in County Wexford. Our ancestors were involved in the revolution that led to Ireland's war of independence. I think I'll be splitting my time between the old home county and the glories of Dublin. Maybe I'll even run into the lovely writer who my aforementioned cousin contends is a distant cousin to us all. Plus there'll be mounds and castles, which hold a special attraction for a nerd like me, so there you go.

Paris can wait.

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1 comment:

stephanie said...

I would love to go to Ireland. You should go. I know people who have gone and they love, love, loved it.