Here be dragons

Tomorrow evening I will be in a train to Paris, France, as a stopover to the French alps. A week of vacation and sports should follow. Assuming enough snow, I will be riding a snowboard for the first time in the 3 vallées.

Leaving for vacation is, by all means, no easy task. Besides the very basic need to guarantee a cash flow for what is probably the most expensive form of vacation on land, and arranging for minor details such as equipment, tickets and reservations, a number of items needed specific care:

  • arranging water, food and company for the cat who will be guarding my apartment,
  • battling with the French railroads company about the 300 euros that they owe me,
  • explaining to the 8 people in my group who are oblivious to the art of cooking that rice and pasta are not a sufficient and healthy diet for one week of sport,
  • preventing any sickness that could have assaulted me before my departure.

Now that the end (or beginning) is near, it becomes clear that at least half of the energy that this vacation is costing me was spent before I even left. In other words, planning a vacation to a place where everything is not taken care of for you is a real life project that needs appropriate resources — time, energy, cleverness, social interactions, business contacts, contracts signed and bills paid in due time, and the like. That may seems obvious to the seasoned vacation planner, but is new territory for me.

Considering that my other vacation plans for the year include at least 12 visits to friends in various places in Europe, as well as serious culture tours around the Netherlands, and attending some conferences for my curiosity’s benefit, I have now decided to plan budgeting energy and time to organize my travels.

Sometimes, I long for the days when leaving for holiday was (and hopefully will be) simply a matter of saving up enough cash and catching the first plane to my destination…