What Would Rick Steves Do?

European_vacation Oh my god, I have absolutely no desire to go to Europe at all. I’m actually annoyed by the prospect. I mean, yes, I would like to attend my sister’s wedding in Aug. But does it make me a bad person for not wanting to go to Wales to do so? If any family members are reading this, they’d have to understand. It’s a little bit about effort, but it’s mostly about finite free time and limited financial resources. I’m feeling very protective of my pathetic ten days off a year. I know, it’s another one of those “that’s life” topics that pointlessly eats away at my soul, but still, it seriously angers me.

I guess you earn vacation days the longer you stay at a job (and actually since I’m at the same parent company at my current job as my previous one, I already have one year down—not that that’s incentive to stay) but I don’t want to wait three…five…ten years!? However, long it is until you get relatively fair amount of time off (James gets four weeks and doesn’t even use it, which rankles me to no end).

This type of thing only reiterates my reluctance for steady office work. I really must figure out a way to do something more flexible, yet also pay basic bills (I was going to say maintain a certain standard of living, but I have no certain standard of living). The older I get, the less I give a shit about security when I know it should be the opposite. I don’t want to be middle aged and homeless, but I don’t care about a career either. Oh cringe, I know, so wrong. I just want to do my business, leave, get paid, end of subject, enough satisfaction. So, I might as well be a freelancer. And I have an idea (yeah, and I thought corporate librarianship was a bright idea) that may or may not play itself out in 2006. It’s not an exciting or coherent idea, but it’s something to distract me for a day or two.

So, I’m trying to figure out someplace to go that’s not unreasonably far from Wales, worth the effort and not expensive. And it looks like I’m shit out of luck. The closest airport is Manchester, and there are flights out of the city to many major locales. But it all seems impractical and overpriced. Like say, I want to go to Berlin. Do I do lots of expensive one ways? Do I make a round trip flight to Manchester and then book a round trip flight within that time frame to Berlin, or vice versa, fly round trip to Berlin and get to Manchester and back to Berlin to get back to NYC? I’d actually like to go to San Sebastian because food is important (and while I might like to see Scotland or Stockholm, I’m not sure how gung ho I am on the cuisine. I do like traditional British food more than the typical American, though. Blood pudding, offal, eels, bone marrow—yum.), but that’s a serious pain because you can fly to either Madrid or Barcelona and it’s like an additional seven hours on a train. The most basic round trip tickets begin at $800 and go well on up. Anything I’d ideally like to do is prohibitively priced. Don’t just take my word, there was an article in the Sunday NY Times about how this summer is particularly pricey for European travel.

I’m just spoiled because my last two vacations have been in Asia (and if it were up to me, it would be that same continent this summer) where $80/night gets space, surprising levels of luxury, and you know, things like wireless internet access, air conditioning, flat screen TVs, important stuff. I’m having the hardest time justifying $115 on up for quaint, charming shower-less rooms with communal pay phones and shabby chic décor. B&Bs are completely barf & more barf in my book. Anything approaching stylish in a major European city means $200 minimum. It’s making my miserly bones hurt just writing about it. It’s one thing to save and splurge on a destination to end all. I could actually deal with $450 per night for something like this, but that’s because I’m crazy for Malaysia (I feel ok about having a bit of an Asian fetish because it’s completely non-sexual, though totally corporeal. I’ve recently noticed that a few popular white male bloggers seem to have yellow fever that shows up in subtle ways like the language they use when linking to female bloggers who happen to be Asian. There’s a fawning, gushy quality that I don’t see used with say, black or Hispanic bloggers. Er, maybe that’s because there aren’t any black or Hispanic bloggers?) So no, I’m not so nuts about a European vacation.

5 thoughts on “What Would Rick Steves Do?

  1. Regarding going elsewhere while in the UK–are you able to look at deals from UK travel shops? they usually have relatively inexpensive flights to other places… Just a thought. (I might be getting a UK paper or two this weekend from a visiting aunt–I’ll let you know what I find!)

  2. Nyuk hehe, totally funny. But go. Family is important, and you’ll be able to hang in the corner with the other black sheep cousin Jonathan,drinking mai-tai’s and bitching about great Aunt Hilda’s penchent for young Italian gardeners. From experience, but I was in Ireland.

  3. Oh, I’m sure I’ll have fun, especially if drinking is involved. And it’s not that I don’t want to see my family. Parting with large sums of money is just painful to me.

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