But yet, still a problem.
There has been a small change of plans. I am not going to be joining my friends in Europe as I mentioned a few weeks back. The reasons for this are many and varied, but the short version goes something like this... They are camping. For three weeks.
Actually, not just camping, but more specifically wild land camping, which is where you bravely wander off into the woods and pitch your tent at a random place. The fact that these ladies are doing this is one of the many things that make me so proud to have them as friends. But in short, I'm not much of a camper. I wish I was, and even I tried to cover this fact up, mainly to myself, so much so that I talked myself into going with some psycho babble about how 'we all must push ourselves to grow'! But as the weeks have spun along, I found myself getting all worked up and anxious, almost dreading my trip. No bueno.
Now, I have been dreaming about visiting Europe for over a decade now, and sick-at-my-stomach anxiety has never been a part of that fantasy. I want to feel over the moon excited, like a kid on Christmas morning about this trip, but I realize now, forcing yourself to do something that isn't right for you is a recipe for the former, not the latter. (Side note: I've always wanted to use that phrase and I think I may have even used it correctly!;)
Another issue I was having is all three of my compadres have all already traversed Europe, and therefore are understandably looking to skip a lot of the hot spots that I am dying to see! At first I told myself that this didn't matter, but as I researched guide books and started to think about things that I wanted to do versus what the goal of their trip was, they looked very different.
And the third caveat was that all my cronnies are smoking hot single ladies, and as I am of the married lady variety, I harbored some fears that this may lead to a bit of an odd man out feel that can ruin a trip for even the best of friends. So, after much thought, (others may have called it brooding) I decided that wasn't the best trip for me. I am definitely sad to miss the opportunity to travel with my homegirls, especially since for two of them, it will be the first leg of their RTW adventure! But alas, I have to do what's right for me, and once I made the decision and told my friends, I felt relief, which is always a sign you've made the right call.
But this leads me to my 'problem', although I call it that hesitantly. (I hesitate because if this is my biggest problem, life ain't too bad!)
You see, I have already bought my ticket. A $1000, non-refundable AirFrance ticket....
I have contacted AirFrance, and I can, for a small fortune, change my ticket once, and I have to know my destination and departure dates upon making this change. This makes things interesting.
Do I go to Europe at the same time as friends, but travel solo to stay in hostels? This definitely has appeal, as more solo travel is something I feel might be good for me. My friends will be there, but as they will be somewhat 'off the grid' contacting them to arrange meetups we feared would be next to impossible. So do I go it completely alone? Paris, perhaps the world's most romantic city, without JB sounds a bit depressing, but he is already committed to a 'boys' trip to Nicaragua. (When I asked if he would really rather go surfing with a bunch of stinky boys than go to Paris with me and he just gave me a look, I have to say it stung just a little bit. But I suppose one could argue that I've got it coming after years of lamenting not having the opportunity to travel on my own. His look was to say, girlie, here's your chance...) And everyone and their brother has been like, 'Europe, alone? Don't you want to share it with someone?' Well, NOW I DO!! Geez.
So whats a girl to do? As per usual, it was my mom that came up with what may be the best solution. She said, the way only your mother can, 'I know what you need to do. Trade in your ticket and go to South Africa.' And by-golly, she may just be right.
Now, that might sound a bit random for a mother to tell her daughter, no don't go to Europe, the backpacker mecca of the world, go to Africa instead, so allow me to fill in a few gaps with a little history lesson... After WWII, my British grandmother married an American and obviously settled here in the West. But her brother, Harry, married an exotic Grecian woman named Poppy, and they settled in South Africa. So half of our family, all of whom I've heard about my entire life but most of whom I have never gotten to meet, live there. So while I would be sort of be solo, I could stay with family and have an immediate support system in this new, exotic and exciting land.
It may just be perfect. Thanks Mom.