And other thoughts on countdown to a European vacation 2 weeks away.
O.K., I probably should not have agreed to take a big trip Labor Day weekend. However, though I’ve lived in South Florida for more than a dozen years, I’ve yet to divorce myself from the ingrained philosophy of a New York working stiff. You stay home during the summer when the weather is glorious and weekends are filled with invitations to beach houses and barbeques. You take a mid-winter trip to a Caribbean island or Florida and as soon as summer ends, when kids go back to school and tourist locations have breathing space…well, that’s when you go to Europe. September is a fabulous weather month.
…Of course, that is except if you’re a Floridian and have heard the horrors and experienced the inconveniences of a hurricane. I lost a trip to New Orleans in September last year (clearly, the citizens of New Orleans experienced a horror while my experience falls into the inconvenience category). A month later, I almost missed a trip to South America when Wilma whisked through our area. So, intellectually, I knew it was chancy to book a trip during hurricane season, but I loved the idea of an itinerary that was based in the Italian Riviera with side trips to the French Riviera — and all my friends (from NY!) were going — so I took a deep breath and booked.
That was months ago before the National Weather Service forecast a more active season than usual. And so, all summer I’ve sat waiting for the hurricanes – unscientifically and unreasonably thinking if they come soon, the chances would be better for a sunny Labor Day departure. But none have come and I don’t know whether to breathe easier or totally hold my breath.
I’ve stopped wearing anything that might need dry cleaning…we might get a hurricane, the electricity will be out, the stores will be closed and even though it might all be over by my departure, will I be able to get those clothes back? Sometimes it takes days for a business to re-open, oft times it takes weeks, and sadly some businesses never recover. Best not to wear them and keep them safely next to my suitcase.
Cash. Get it now. What if…? Oh, and of course, keep the car filled with gas. If the hurricane comes and goes, I have to be prepared to get to the airport. After Wilma I sat on a gas line for over 2 hours so I could get myself to Miami airport. I wasn’t going to trust a shuttle service or impose on family or friends who, themselves, were struggling to find gas.
Getting older and being retired brings a true appreciation of travel, at a deeper and more meaningful level than earlier trips. You develop new interests and hone old ones. In my case, travel is now enhanced by photography and writing. I looked forward to the stories and images I will bring back. You’re wiser and more experienced; however, unfortunately, with wisdom and experience comes qualms, reservations and worries…like why haven’t we had a hurricane yet…are they waiting for Labor Day weekend? Will I be able to get out of Florida?
My big dilemma is what to do about a manicure/pedicure. I can get my clothes cleaned and take cash from the bank in advance. I can also keep my car filled with gas ready to go – but if I get a manicure/pedicure two weeks in advance, I’ll no doubt start peeling. So how long should I wait? I definitely don’t want chipped toenails on the Italian Riviera.