I’m too scared to travel

7 Jan


Here it is…the stunning Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy. This is the spot everyone. This is where I would go if I could go anywhere. I can see my family and I all crowded around the fountain, tossing in coins, planning to return. We’ll all be happy and excited, finally traveling together as I have always dreamed. All of us, together, in Italy. Just like in National Lampoon’s European Vacation (which I watched countless times as a child).

It’s a shame I’m too scared to travel. It’s also a shame that even if I did want to travel we don’t have the money too. I totally missed my travel window and I’ve regretted it ever since. In my family we usually travel before or after university before settling into full-time employment but I got a great job as I was starting uni. I was too paranoid to leave it. Also, I’ve never really been very adventurous. I didn’t even move interstate for work because I didn’t want to live too far away from my family. In radio this is unheard of. I regret that too.

I have been to Italy apparently. I was four and my parents decided to save up and travel with three children. I don’t remember a thing. I have a vague recollection of my sister vomiting on a plane and my dad insisting that milk would make her feel better. I also remember lots of pigeons in front of a church, a scary motorbike ride on a huge freeway (apparently that was with my uncle in Milan).

When I was in my early twenties my friend got married in Canada. I decided to go but only for seven days (I didn’t want to lose my special radio job!). Customs eyed me suspiciously. Seven days only? I showed them the invitation and even my business card. “I work in radio. I can’t be gone for long.” Seriously, how stupid was I?

A few years ago my husband and I did have money to travel. We dreamed of cruises, European vacations, tropical islands. We got as far as QLD for a few days when our first baby was five months old. It was a working holiday to a resort my husband’s company had bought and was redeveloping. It was boring because there’s not much to do with a five-month old, my husband was working, I had no car and was unfamiliar with the area. I may as well have stayed home.

We haven’t traveled since. That was almost eight years ago. We didn’t even go on a honeymoon after our wedding. I was pregnant, we were both busy with work…Five years ago we decided enough was enough and we’d a least take a cruise for two weeks. We booked it, paid the deposit and looked forward to our January departure. Then our world caved in. We lost everything in the Global Financial Crisis and had to abandon our holiday dreams. We lost the deposit, enough money to catch up the payments on our defaulted mortgage. We used to use the Cahill Expressway so we could see the ships docked at Circular Quay. We stopped doing that. It was too painful.

I’m turning 37 in two weeks. OMG I’ll be 40 soon. I haven’t lived!

I wrote a ‘bucket list’. There are things I want to do before I turn 40. One of them is to travel. I told my husband. “We are traveling to Europe before I turn 40. I’ve got it all figured out. We’ll keep it simple. Instead of spending a month visiting all my relatives well fly straight to Rome for a week, then Euro Disney in France for a week. Simple, kid-friendly, what do you think?”

“That’s cost at least $30,000 Jo,” my darling husband said.

“Well I’m going to Europe before I turn 40. I’m happy to go for a couple of weeks on my own but I’d prefer for us to do it all together.” I stopped short of stamping my food.

“I’m not saying we won’t go, I think it’s a good idea.”

“It is a good idea. We’re doing it,” I stated with determination.

“Let’s do it,” he said.

Several things will have to occur for this to eventuate. We’ll have to save money like demons. I’ll have to get over my morbid fear of flying (I fly in a helicopter for work and every day I am surprised when we land safely). I’ll have to stop watching shows on the CI channel and ‘I almost got away with it’. I will not carry any packages for anyone while traveling.

Families travel all the time. They arrive safely and return safely. They post photos on their Facebook pages and I choose the ‘like’ button and see the smiling faces of their children. They tell me the kids were fine on the plane. They tell me the packing and traveling were a bit hard but once they arrived they could have stayed forever.

Oh, I almost forgot I went to Hamilton Island for my friend’s wedding. I flew there with my son and my husband was meant to join us but didn’t make it due to work commitments (!). It was so fun and once we settled into our hotel we could have stayed forever. It was hot. We took the green bus from our hotel to the ice cream shop every single night.

I will get to Europe by the time I turn 40. I want to blow out my birthday candles in Rome, with my family around me. I will I will I will.

It will be a happy fabulous birthday!

La Dolce Vita, 
Jo Abi

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