Monday, October 27, 2014

Halfway Around the World in 60 Days

Flying at 37,000 feet with several hours to go before landing, there are three or four choices. My favorite is sleep. Or read. Maybe a movie (watched the classic Dr. Zhivago on the flight east). Or write. Don’t feel too tired; it’s only 9 pm by my body clock, and I’ve flipped through The Economist, so blogging is winning out over Guardians of the Galaxy (maybe later). 

This is my fourth crossing of the Atlantic in the past five weeks. (My body clock sprung a sprocket days ago.) And my sixth of seven weeks on the road. By the time we reach home in Argeles-sur-mer, D-L will have been gone a full two months exactly. 

I will have been on nine airplanes, seven trains, too many buses and trams to bother counting, the metro in Paris, several taxis, two rental cars which I drove about 1500-2000 miles, and a ferry boat. 

I will have slept in nearly 20 different beds. (Perhaps you’ve noticed the photos with the numbers on my FB posts.) One airbnb host suggested I produce a poster, which I might. 

We have attended conferences, toured museums and historic sites, eaten just about every kind of food imaginable … 

The whirlwind trip kind of grew like topsy. The first scheduled event, around which some other events revolved, was an Il Divo concert with J in Stuttgart, Germany the 2nd week in October. This created an opportunity for me to see where Donna-Lane lived the first time she was in Europe, and appreciate why she loves it on the Continent so much. 

Then I got word of my high school reunion, none of which I had previously attended before, but it established a timeframe for D-L to meet my 91-year-old mother and show her where I grew up. We also decided to route through Montreal, which gave me an opportunity to meet several of the people I work with at ICAO. Of course, since we were in the “neighborhood,” we also swung through Long Island, Cape Cod, and Boston to see some of D-L’s friends and her daughter, and she could show me where she grew up. 

We didn’t complain that it was fall tree color season, and the views for two weeks were spectacular. 

Crossing the border from Canada to the US was an adventure in itself. 

In between our New England “Nostalgia Tour,” I managed some work on J’s driveway in Geneva. 

An editor thought it was a good idea for me to attend Helitech in Amsterdam to promote a helicopter training conference I am developing for 2015, and D-L loves Amsterdam (and will eventually write Murder in Amsterdam), so that became our destination after Stuttgart, with a stopover in Cologne, just because. 

As I had not seen my daughter and grandkiddos since April, I squeezed in a trip to Dallas. And up popped a request to attend a media day in New Mexico since I was close by. 

Now it’s back to Europe, but not yet back to D-L. One more conference, this one in Berlin. 

I’ll catch up with my wife in Geneva on Thursday, inshalla, do some more work on the driveway, weather permitting, then we’ll finally head for home next Monday. 

I wouldn’t have missed the trip and especially the people we met, some old friends, some new. It was exhilarating and exhausting, logistically frenetic scheduling the BNBs and hotels, flights, taxis, getting to the ferry just in time, five different currencies, electrical adapter plugs, losing my phone, having my Swiss Army Knife confiscated by TSA because I packed it in the wrong bag, getting work done in odd moments, taking photos (including Scooby Two, who finally met his dad – blog to come) … 

Will we do such a series of back-to-back-to-back-to-back trips again? Unlikely. 

Will we sleep late for the next several days? Oh, yeah. 

The Ireland house-sit is only a month away.

D-L has several blogs about the trip: http://theexpatwriter.blogspot.ch 

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