Several weeks ago, I decided to accompany a good friend of mine to England to help her stay sane while flying with her two young children. In return, she paid for half my flight...a win-win! At least for now. I may feel quite differently after 7 hours on a plane with two screaming babies. I love to travel, but I didn't really have a desire to hang out in England. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I always imagine England as a sea of plaid-wrapped gentlemen with pipes, cold rainy days, and bad food. I know I shouldn't prejudge, and I'll probably end up visiting at some point, but right now I want to spend my valuable free time going somewhere where I really want to be. So, where to go after flying into England? Scotland? France? Iceland? I kept vacillating between countries, undecided, up until yesterday, when it finally occurred to me that I really needed to get in gear. I was going to England in two weeks, and had nowhere to stay. At some point I needed to make a decision.
For some reason, though, I simply couldn't settle on anyplace. I went so far as to make the decision to simply let someone else pick my vacation for me. As strange as it sounds, I have done this in the past, with great success. In fact, a few years back I took a road trip to destinations unknown. I simply got into my car and started driving, and every time I stopped somewhere, I would strike up a conversation with a stranger. "So," I would ask eventually, "if you could take a trip to visit anywhere today within a two-hour driving distance, where would it be?" Wherever that destination happened to be, I went there. As a result, I ended up traveling to Bar Harbor, Burlington, Poland Spring, and Clark's Trading Post, a very strange roadside attraction. All in all, a very diverse but enjoyable road trip.
I was ready to give up and let other people make the decision for me, when I spontaneously decided on Paris. Determined to get this trip set up once and for all, I spent several hours looking at hotels and flights, and finally started to put my credit card info into Expedia. Just as I was about to send it, I felt the need to stretch, and I walked into the waiting room, where I ran into a client of the esthetician that I work with. We started making random small talk, and got on the topic of my trip. She mentioned that she had just gotten back from her own vacation to Paris.
"How was it?" I asked, expecting her to start raving about how wonderful it all was.
Her response was far from enthusiastic. She began to regale me with stories about the crowds, the smoke, and the overall sense that she was unwelcome there. I told her that I was going alone, and she looked horrified. She emphasized how ostracized she felt during the trip, and said that there was no way she could have gone by herself.
Well. This was a sign, if ever one existed. Clearly, the universe was telling me to stay the hell out of France. How random was it that I ran into this woman, who I had never met before, mere seconds before finalizing my flight?
So, Paris was out. I sat back down at my computer, frustrated to be right back where I started. Couldn't the universe give me just one more sign, one more hint to get me on the path to my vacation destination?
I needed a coffee. I decided to make a run to the coffee shop next door (Beyond Beans in Wayland, for those of you in the area....just as an fyi, they have amazing coffee, delicious desserts that are made fresh every day, and great sandwiches. Plus, they are a small local business, and I'm all about supporting small local businesses.). As I sipped my coffee, I found myself wishing that it was filled with the magic of Bailey's. Bailey's would have made it the perfect cup of coffee...if I wasn't treating patients all day, that is.
Bailey's. Bailey's Irish Cream. It was a sign from the heavens!
And that was how I ended up booking a flight to Dublin last night.