Today was most definitely a recovery day. After four days of movement and planning, we successfully booked our tickets in the wee hours of Monday morning. In addition to a formidable lack of sleep, both Deb and I have only eaten about one meal's worth of food all weekend. We were both so nervous about getting the trip details locked down our bellies' could only handle a few bites. But enough about our gastroenterological dilemmas; it's nothing a little oatmeal can't fix. On the plus side: we both lost five pounds.
I'm not usually a person who likes to over plan the details of a trip. My trips are usually on the road, so it's impossible to know when I'm going to be too tired to go on or for how long an irresistible roadside attraction will distract me from my destination. This technique worked well on solo trips, but had produced diminishing results during drives with exes. Deb and I, however, travel exceedingly well together, and even the strain of looking for a motel in the middle of New England at 2am could not break us up.
When I was 20-years-old, I was having a conversation with some friends about what you would do if you found out you only had 30 days to live (that old chestnut). My answer was to go traveling through Europe. It seemed crazy to me to wait until such dire news to embark on such an endeavor. So I cashed in some of my aforementioned wise investments, and two weeks later I stepped off the plane in London, Eurail Pass in hand, and eagerly heading toward the first ferry to Amsterdam. The thing I remember most of all from that summer was standing in a Berlin train station and gazing up at the schedule board in utter disbelief. Practically, every city in Europe was listed, like rides at a theme park: Paris, Rome, Prague, Tilt-A-Whirl. I remember the overwhelming sense of freedom as I realized I could pick any train I liked and wake up in the city of my choosing.
Sometimes, when I mention a detail from that trip to Deb, she'll lament that she'd never taken such a leap. Now we're going on such a trip together. True, it's much more structured; it won't have that day-by-day freewheeling aspect. And while that trait certainly has it's advantages, it also leaves you sleeping in parks, on train platforms, and on the edge of the occasional seaside cliff.
I'll be damned if my fiance will be forced to sleep on a cliff. And thanks to diligent internet research, we won't have to. I'm not selling off my possessions to sleep on concrete.
I read a recommendation today from someone who had done the AYCJ ticket last year that suggested you shouldn't book seats next to your traveling companion so you don't always have to wake up next to the same person. For someone traveling with a friend, that sounds like good advice and would create opportunities to meet other travelers. But if I'm going to survive the taxing parts of this trip I'm gong to need Deb by my side. I look forward to waking up next to her as we arrive in each new city exhausted and hungry.
Which reminds me, we need to buy two of those inflatable neck pillows.