I love to travel. If I had a million dollars, I'd spend at least half of it simply seeing new places, because the world is a wonderful place to explore and get lost in. I have taught my husband the joys of vacationing to new destinations, too. When we were first married (as in 6 days into the marriage) we drove to Alaska. That was a 9-day adventure spent inside a vehicle for no less than 8 hours daily with stops only for gas, because we packed meals to eat in the car. It was an adventure, but not the kind I would have liked for it to have been. Three years later, on our way home from Alaska, we took 2 weeks to drive home. Not because we had a 1 year old in the car, but because Sam wasn't as pressed for time and was able to stop and enjoy the sights along the way.
Traveling is my hobby. I have a mission to see all 50 states in my lifetime. I've got a majority of them under my belt already, and have loved visiting every single one of them. The United States has so very much to offer in the way of scenery. Watching the landscape change from sea to shining sea is fascinating to me. Prairies, mountains, rolling hills, desert... we've got it all. I've had very little desire to travel internationally, and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that America is such an amazing place in itself. Why go elsewhere when we have so much to see and do here?
And then Sam's brother moved to Italy last year and we decided that it would be fun to visit him, especially coupled with the fact that some of our very best friends moved to Spain just a few months earlier. Globally speaking, they're right next door to each other, and we could visit both in one trip. (Because we could only afford to go to Europe once, you know.) If I would travel Europe at all, my choices would be Ireland, Scotland, United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland, but beggars can't be choosers, and I just love to travel.
And then the kennel kind of died out and our secondary income died with it, and we realized that our international travel would have to be put on hold. Indefinitely. Maybe it would never happen before both families we were visiting came back stateside. I didn't stress, because it is what it is. We'd be content to look at photos on Facebook.
In January, I got an email from a friend I hadn't been in touch with for many years. She was an exchange student my family had the year before Sam and I were married (24 years ago). She decided that it was high time we came to visit her in Germany, and said that she set aside money to make it happen. Her dad owns a chalet in Switzerland, and she'd show us around both countries, anywhere we wanted to go.
You guys, God is that kind of good.
We've been emailing back and forth for a few months now, deciding dates and checking calendars and rearranging schedules. Communication is slow when two people work long hours every day and there is a 6 hour time difference, but we finally worked things out.
Yesterday, over my lunch break, I checked my email. Included was a copy of airline reservations in our names to fly to Frankfurt. We get to spend time touring Germany and Switzerland with a personal, local guide, then fly to Rome to tour there with another personal, local guide, and finish the trip just north of Madrid (yes, with another personal, local guide) before coming home 3 weeks later.
I can't even comprehend how this happened. This is the life of other people, right? OHHMYGOSH, we'll be world travelers. This upcoming vacation is so much more than we'd ever have planned for ourselves, because God delights in doing things like that. Even though we've known about this for 2 months already, the reality of purchased plane tickets makes my head reel yet again.
September is going to be pretty amazing.