What's Your Perfect Travel Destination?
By Karen Ballum on June 14, 2012
In Laura Dave's The First Husband the main character, Annie, is a travel writer. I used to think that being a travel writer had to be one of the most awesome jobs a person could have. I've met a few over the years and yes, it can be a fabulous job but it's still a job and it does have its downsides. I've also learned, like Annie, that's there isn't a perfect travel destination.
"Maybe the most important thing I learned from writing "Checking Out" was that there was no such thing as a the perfect destination. To a certain degree, I understood that going in, but it became more clear to me every time that a reader asked the magic question: If you could take on more trip, where would you go?" Page 238
I didn't really start travelling until I was in my late twenties. I didn't get my first passport until a few months shy of my 29th birthday. I dreamed of travelling and Paris was my dream destination. I'd always been fascinated by it. When I attempted to do the 101 things in 1001 days meme, which I gloriously failed at, I put Paris on the list. It was a whim. I didn't seriously think that I'd get there. I had some vague idea that I might be able to swing a solo trip for my 30th birthday but I didn't seriously think I'd do it. I ended up not doing many, many things on that list of 101 things that I thought I'd do but I did get to Paris.
Paris was wonderful and I loved it every bit as much as I thought I would. The food was fabulous. It didn't matter if we were dining in little bistros or grabbing crepes and hot wine (it was the winter) from a street vendor we ate very well. Our hotel was just as tiny as we thought it would be and there was just barely enough room in the tiny elevator for both of us and our suitcases. I saw the Mona Lisa and stood on the Eiffel Tower. I was completely smitten with Notre Dame's gargoyles.
It would be easy to romanticize it and think it was a perfect trip and that Paris was a perfect destination. It wasn't. It was cold and rainy. While the Eiffel Tower may have been amazing my vertigo was not one bit impressed with it and the anxiety I get along with experiencing vertigo caused me to burst in to tears. On one of our last days my wallet was stolen. I'd go back to Paris in a heartbeat but it was not a perfect destination.
More and more I gravitate to staying home. The recession made "staycations" a buzzword, and people laugh when I say I'd love to take a week off and spend it in my backyard but it's true. If our backyard backed on to a beach or had a pool, and I could get groceries and library books delivered, I'd never need to leave my backyard.
If I could only take one last trip it probably wouldn't be Paris. It probably wouldn't be to my backyard, either. I'd like to go someplace private on a beach where I could read, eat good food and watch the waves crash along the shore. Maybe I'll change my mind again in another ten years but right now a beach, privacy and quiet sound like a pretty good last trip.
Do you have a perfect destination? Where would you go if you could only go on one last trip?
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