The Time Is Now

Nine years ago, my husband and I celebrated our thirtieth anniversary by going on a river cruise in France.  It was our first trip to Europe, and between the excitement and the overnight flight to London, we were dead tired by the time we boarded the plane for the short flight that would take us to Nice. My husband promptly fell asleep, but I stayed awake, fascinated by the view of France below me.  I could see the Eiffel Tower as we flew over Paris, then vineyards, rivers, rolling hills, tiny towns, and even snow-capped mountains to the East.  It was a struggle to keep my eyes open, but I knew this might be the only time I could get a “bird’s eye” view of France, and I wasn’t about to miss it.

IMG_5619We were spending the night in Nice before heading off to our river boat the following day.  We checked into our hotel late that afternoon and I wanted nothing more than to eat and go straight to bed.  But my husband had his heart set on the tour company’s optional dinner excursion to Monaco, and I reluctantly agreed to go.  The views on the ride over were fabulous, the dinner was great, and we even got to gamble a little in one of the very expensive and very exclusive casinos that kept a side room open for ordinary people like us.  (If you want to see one of the very formal employees of a ritzy Monaco casino almost smile, go up to the counter and proudly present him with your winnings ticket for a whopping four euros.)

I’m glad I went, even though I was so tired that I promptly fell asleep on the bus ride back to the hotel. My husband told me that I snored loudly the whole way no matter how many times he nudged me with his elbow.  And my fellow passengers were the very same people who were going to be on the river boat with us for the entire week.  Luckily, the bus was so dark there was a chance no one knew it was me.

We spent the next few days sailing up the Rhone river, and then rode a bus up to Paris, where our trip ended.  We spent two nights there, which meant we had one day to explore that famous city.  It wasn’t nearly enough time, but we made the best of it by taking a sight-seeing tour in the morning in order to see as much of Paris as possible.  Notre Dame wasn’t open for visitors on the day we were there, but the tour did take us close enough that we could get a good look at it.  And I will be forever grateful for that.  The first thing I thought when I was the news footage of the tragic fire was, “I’m glad I at least got to see the outside in person.”

The point is, sometimes opportunities present themselves to us at very inconvenient times, and it’s all too easy to say “no.”  We’re too tired, we’re too busy, we just can’t possibly…..  Until we go ahead and try, and realize that we not only could, but that we are so very happy we did.

79 thoughts on “The Time Is Now

  1. Sounds like you did the normal American once in a lifetime Europe tour. I am so glad you were able to enjoy your time and that you remember seeing something. When I worked at the tulip gardens we would have Americans come through on tour and if it was their last or first stop they looked dazed. Jet lag and several cities in one or two weeks will do that.
    My European co workers couldn’t understand why Americans insist on traveling Europe that way until I explained that for most it is a once in a lifetime (usually retirement trip).
    Thanks for posting your experience.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, the problem is that it’s an expensive trip for most Americans, and the jet lag is very real. I do know some people lucky enough to go every year, and they see so much more of the countries they visit, but that doesn’t fit with our budget or schedule. We’ve also been to Ireland now, and hope to go back to Europe soon. Still, I have to acknowledge that each trip there could be my last!

      Liked by 4 people

    • I didn’t used to be, but I’m learning fast. One of my regrets in life is that I didn’t take advantage of an opportunity to go to England for three weeks while I was in college, on a trip with the English department. I wasn’t sure I could scrounge up the money, and I also didn’t want to leave my boyfriend for that long. Seriously! And since he’s not my husband, who I see every day……. Yeah, I wish I had borrowed the money and gone!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Amazing what we thought was, and wasn’t important back in the day. I have a friend who tries to micromanage he4 college age children, who are great kids btw, and it makes me cringe. It’s like she doesn’t want them to experience anything ever.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that was my attitude! Even though when I go on vacation in my own country, I’m very careful to take it easy and make sure that I don’t go home exhausted. But there’s that nagging little, “you may never get this chance again” voice that kept me going in France. And honestly, I’m glad it did!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Sounds like you had a wonderful time Ann.
    I was a carpenter for twenty three years, I’m a
    site manager now, but many years ago I worked
    on the construction of Euro Disney. What a wonderful
    time that was. Every Sunday morning I would wake up
    in my hotel room with a super hangover, but my fellow
    carpenters and I would always spend Sunday exploring Paris.
    An opportunity not to be missed. Hangover or not. Visiting Oscar
    Wilde’s grave was the best day ever.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That would have been so cool!!! And you were incredibly lucky to work in Europe for a while. I wouldn’t have let a hang over stop me from exploring the city either! (Oh to be young and resilient again……LOL!)

      Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I’m normally kind of a cautious person, but as I age, I’m learning to recognize that we need to take our opportunities when they present themselves. And traveling in a foreign country, when we aren’t at all sure we’ll ever visit again, does teach us that lesson!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I will like to challenge you and husband to come visit Africa….Nigeria specifically. You will have free place to stay with us. 😀 like a serious offer… 🙂

        I enjoyed a globetrotting life growing up. But haven’t travelled in years. I love the putting Down of roots but I definitely miss traveling…

        I guess i t really depends what one grew up with and moving beyond one’s comfort zone. It was difficult adjusting to different cultures as people even as a child. Plus u just need to follow your parents, they take care of everything. Traveling as an adult….

        But definitely way better to face fears overcome caution and JUST DO IT when opportunity comes…regret is always more difficult to cope with

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    • I think I did! I was just so happy to get the opportunity to see France at all. I wasn’t raised in a family that had money for international travel. We never even went to Disneyland, so this seemed like an extraordinary opportunity to me. As for Monaco, I did that part of the trip just for my husband (he had always wanted to go there), but I’m really glad I did. I genuinely had a great time!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What an exciting trip you had in France for your anniversary, Ann! The river cruise must have been on the Rhone and not the Rhine, since you later wound up in Paris. Oh, before I forget, Happy Mother’s Day!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was! My husband read my post after I hit “publish” and pointed out that I’d named the wrong river. I wondered if anyone would notice. And since you’re from Germany, I’m glad you did! I did correct it on my blog, but for those who follow it, they’ll see the original version. Still, it was a wonderful trip, and I’ll remember it forever. Thanks for the comment, Peter!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much Joe! First, though, I have to travel more. And honestly, when my husband retires, I would love to travel a little more like you do: pick one place and stay there long enough to really become immersed in the local culture. I love reading about your travels!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks, Ann. I suppose that by definition, a travel writer needs to travel. Haha! You certainly possess the writer half. Hopefully you and your husband will have more time to travel in the not-to-distant future.

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    • I spent one semester in Cambridge, England, when I was in college. I tried to see as many places as I could..we had long weekends, and two very long breaks. We spent about three days in Paris. It is such a beautiful city. When I saw the pictures of the fire, it was heartbreaking! We sometimes take things for granted without even thinking about it…your blog post is a reminder that we should celebrate all the big and little things in life, knowing that change is inevitable, and not everything will wait for us until we are ‘ready’.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. What lovely memories you’ve shared with us Ann. And it’s true. Life presents us with many opportunities that we should grab with both hands. We never know what’s around the corner or if we’ll ever be back in that place.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Miriam! I’m ashamed to say that I have let a few good opportunities go by in my life, and that’s a mistake I don’t want to repeat. We really have no guarantee there will ever be a second chance!

      Liked by 2 people

    • That is exactly true! We never know if we will get back to the same place again…something else may come up and then we plan a different trip altogether. In the moment that we are present in a locale, that is when we must make the most of it. Time passes by and we may never get to relive that experience…and it will always be different the second or third time around. That first encounter with a person or place, is a one of a kind thing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I really think you’d love it, Carolyn! Avalon and Viking both do that cruise. And I know what you mean about the travel bucket list growing…..I’m going to have to make it to 100 if I have any hope of visiting all the places I want to see!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Spending three months out of the country should be a mandatory requirement for graduation. There is just something maturing about traveling to a place where (most) people do not speak your language.

    But why should schools do that?

    Because for most people, the opportunity may never present itself again.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve wanted to take a river cruise for a long time… I guess it’s about time to say “yes.” I don’t think I’ve ever regretted pushing beyond my tiredness or less than stellar mood to take advantage of an opportunity when we’ve traveled. As they say, you will have plenty of time to sleep when you are dead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the truth! And I do think you should try a river cruise. We really enjoyed ours and want to do it again. They aren’t like the big cruise ships…more like barges, and the rooms are sort of like you would find at a Hampton Inn. Clean and comfortable, with everything you need, but not fancy. There is only one restaurant and one bar, no casinos or shows, so if you are into night life, you’re out of luck. But we LOVED it! They dock within walking distance of everything we want to see, they only have about 120 passengers, so you make friends if you want to, and honestly, after dinner, all you want to do is go to bed anyway. It’s a great way to see lots of sights and only have to unpack once!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You have refreshed my ‘bucket list’ with those snatches from your tour to France. The clockwork precision of those trips does tend to leave one bone-tired and sleep deprived —unabashed snoring is poor body’s humble protest against the drag. You do seem to have risen to the occasion and made the most of opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad it added to your bucket list! But yes, those rigid schedules do make us so very tired…and sometimes have unpleasant side effects. I do hope someday I can travel abroad on my own schedule, and really immerse myself in the local culture. Here’s hoping, anyway!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m still a good number of years from being able to travel abroad but I’m always ready to read travel stories. Yours is the kind I enjoy the most, Ann, and I haven’t read any like yours yet! This post was so honest and truthful yet inspiring. You didn’t make it seem all smooth and posh and out-of-reach like some people so enjoy doing. You wrote truthfully about the tiredness and the occasional wanting to just not do anything but sleep. How many of us have felt bad about waiting so long for a trip yet ending up feeling exactly this way!

    What touched me the most was the way you went and made the most out of every little pocket of opportunity. That is such a positive and bright way to live and embrace life. It made me recall the times when I allowed tiredness or irritation to hold me back, thus dimming the holiday joy for others.

    It’s never too late to change. I’ve a little local trip coming up soon and I intend to do it the Ann Way😄😄😄!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh thank you so much! That is such a kind thing to say. We were able to catch up on our sleep once we boarded the river boat, but honestly, I’m so glad that I took advantage of all the opportunities that presented themselves as part of this trip. I felt so lucky to be able to see Monaco, fly over France, see Notre Dame,….all of it! The fatigue was a small price to pay. And looking back over my life, it’s the times when I said “I’m too tired, or I’m too busy” that I regret. Not the times I said “yes” to life and jumped in there with both feet!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Cramming a ton of things into a trip is exhausting, but as you say, it may well be your only shot. There have been very few excursions we’ve regretted, and many – well, what the heck, I had to start a blog to keep track of ’em. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! We did take it easy our first few days on the boat, which helped me catch up on our sleep. But I’m still not sorry I stayed awake for the flight over France (it was gorgeous) and that I went to Monaco, even if I did snore the whole way home. I seriously doubt I’ll ever get a chance to do that again!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sounds like a great trip, Ann, even if you were both exhausted. I’ll have to keep this in mind for our UK trip, even if it means drinking a ton of English coffee to stay awake!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Des, I would advise seeing as much as you can while you are there! But don’t push yourself to exhaustion….you want to be able to enjoy your time in the UK as well. It helped us that once we got on the boat, there was time for naps and sleeping in. But when a really big opportunity comes your way…go for it! You can sleep later.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Omg u have such a good memory and your retelling…haha I can almost picture myself in the bus with u trying not to look at your husband nudging his snoring wife 😀 haha and how proud u were of your casino.winnings….

    But so many lessons to learn. Even no.matter how tired u were, u pushed through and had such an amazing trip with memories that remained so vivid over the years

    Happy Anniversary to you and hubby. Wow 3+decades, me and hubby just babies haha with our whooping 2 yrs. 😀

    Hope you and dear husband had an equally meaningful anniversary this year. Wishing both of you many more amazing adventures and cherished quiet moments together

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! And believe me, before you know it, you and your husband will be celebrating your thirtieth anniversary too. It is almost scary how quickly the time flies.
      I’m glad you enjoyed my post about our trip. It really was fun, and one I will never forget! And it also helped me realize how important it is to “seize the day!”

      Like

      • He he yes time is already flying so fast. I’m sure in blink of an eye the little cutie I’m cuddling, will be watching hubby walking her down the aisle. Wish I could preserve some moments in time capsules and revisit anytime

        Or have way better and vivid memory haha.

        Waiting for another post about how u found another opportunity to “seize the day”. I also did something like that last week in terms of a new business venture, super scary and still is

        Liked by 1 person

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