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.
We 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.