Monday, December 28, 2015

My Winter Travel Plans..or Lack Thereof

Overall, it's been a good year but one thing really disappointed me; I didn't get to go on my annual vacation. You know, that trip I take every year to a foreign land that I've never been to before? Yeah that one.

Lots of things came together to make 2015 the year of the Staycation. Technically I did travel to an international destination when I flew to Barbados at the last minute in December but it's getting so close to a year since I got on a plane that for the sake of rounding things off, we'll just say I haven't traveled this year...because it has been slightly more than 365 days since I left Canada.

I planned to travel to Newfoundland in the spring but was called to work from June to October. Having a set-in-stone date for the end of work meant I could plan to go anywhere I wanted for however long I wanted and I had 4 months to think about where to go and plan an amazing trip. I thought about it a lot. First, I thought of doing a multi-country tour of Europe. That was soon replaced with the idea of going to just Greece. That idea faded fast when the Syrian refugee crisis reached its peak and it looked like traveling anywhere in that region might be a bad idea. Hawaii also crossed my mind around that time but it was New Zealand that I finally settled on as my travel destination for the fall of 2015. I made the decision to visit the North Island and planned to do a semi-guided tour with GAdventures. I looked at flights and set up flight alerts to keep track of prices. I did tons of research on the Island. And it didn't happen. None of it fell through. It's the end of December, just days away from 2016 and my renewed eligibility to be recalled to work and I'm here writing about how I didn't take that trip to New Zealand instead of writing about my experience in the place that has been at the top of my bucket list since I was a child. Yeah it's a bummer alright.

The downward spiral leading to the demise of my most recent travel plans started with a dull ache in the right side of my head that turned out to be a toothache. A trip to the dentist revealed a severely decayed wisdom tooth in desperate need of either a costly root canal or an almost as costly extraction. I made the appointment to have it taken out the following week and continued to make plans for the upcoming trip that I already told everyone I was going on, much to the envy of my friends and co-workers. Meanwhile, I discovered that the house I'm living in is to be sold next spring and I have to find another place to live which will double my cost of living. My car started to act up around this time too. The brakes were grinding, the engine light came on, a loud squealing started under the hood and something was rattling under the front end. I dropped it off at the garage one morning and 4 hours and almost fifteen-hundred dollars later, my car was returned to me only to be parked in the yard for emergency use only as I was no longer able to afford to put gas in it. And to top it off, the dentist called only two days before my scheduled appointment and informed me that they were unable to do the extraction as it was more suited to a dental surgeon who specializes in more complicated extractions like mine. That appointment ended up being a month away - during the time I would be traveling. So with all that having happened over a short period of time and the fact that I suddenly became short on both time and money, I cancelled my trip. And yes it broke my heart. No I am not being my typical sarcastic self, it really broke my heart.

Some excitement started to stir right before Christmas when rumours started to spread that some people may be called back to work in January. At first I hoped I wouldn't be because I hated the thought of driving to work every day in blustery, winter conditions. But the idea of having the summer off started to appeal to me and I hoped they would call. They didn't...yet...and with January quickly approaching, I don't suspect they will. Either way, I've started making plans to travel as soon as time allows me to do so. I have three options for the near future: 1) If I get called back in January, I will travel to a climate that is warm around the time I get laid off again which will be May or June. I'm thinking Western Europe...England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. 2) If I don't get called back in January, I know I'm safe until at least April when call backs start again so I'm thinking I will use some of my Airmiles that are soon expiring and head somewhere warm in South America or the Caribbean. Argentina is a destination I am seriously considering. 3) I am also considering the option of not going anywhere until the fall of 2016 and saving up to go to New Zealand. Three great plans of attack, one tough decision. I think the best way to tackle this whole scenario is to do minimal planning until almost the last minute so I don't face disappointment again and just play it by ear and see how things transpire.

Mini-trips, or Staycations as some people like to call them, are always in the works but I don't really count any trip made within Canada as a "real"trip which is defined by the use of a passport and the crossing of at least one border. I have quite a few WestJet dollars and I'm thinking I may use them for a trip Out West to see my sisters in Alberta.
Although I didn't get the chance to travel to a far-flung destination this year, I still managed to explore some new places closer to home and enjoy some relaxing time spent in some of my favourite places around Cape Breton. I'm rarely idle, I'm always itching to go somewhere and if that somewhere happens to be to places closer to home, then so be it. There are more than enough places to explore around here. So many beaches and trails that I have yet to lay eyes on. That being said, my itchy feet won't allow me to stay put for too long. Only time will tell when and where my next international adventure will take place. I can only hope it will be sooner than later!

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