by the throat

Seize fate…

I think I’ve gone and done it.  Gone stark raving mad, that is.  Completely bonkers? Totally nuts? Called the men in white? Lost my marbles? Fallen off my rocker?  Anyway you get the idea.   The point is I think I’ve finally completely lost my mind. 

Let me explain (before someone actually calls the men in white!):  back in September when Vegas was courting me he mentioned that he was semi-planning a trip to Europe this summer.  He was going to do London, Paris, Athens, Rome etc etc… and he asked if I would like to join him.  At the time I didn’t know if I wanted to be in a relationship with him, let alone travel the world by his side for God knows how long, so I humored him and said ‘Meh. Maybe’.   It’s not like I haven’t thought of going to Europe before – it’s just that I thought I had a bit more time to figure the logistics out, not to mention save the extraordinary amount of money necessary to travel in style – oh, and maybe eat along the way too.

Sometime in December, when I started working for a friend of my former boss, did I start to semi-seriously contemplate the logistics of this trip.  Could I do it?  I mean, I was now earning between 14-17$ an hour that I could put away starting in January… and knowing that my contract went up to May 31st at my other job, and my tax refund would be a pretty penny… it just might be possible.  Now the more important question – Do I want to do it?  My parents, although not in the country and safely 6 hours away by plane, would flip out at the thought of their only daughter flying across the world to visit her – wait, she has a boyfriend?  Where would she stay?  What would she do?  How would we contact her? How would we know if she was safe?

In December I decided that it was all too much for me to handle or think about, especially during exam time.  I kept working and enjoyed the extra cash it brought in, but still saved 4 pay cheques and Saturday night tip-offs as a ‘just in case’ fund – as in, just in case I got really brave and decided to do something stupid.


2 Thursdays ago I was in the Market meandering about, enjoying the sunshine and un-re-circulated air when I spotted the local TravelCuts.  I thought to myself ‘oh what the hell – just ask how much it would be – no harm in that really’, so with my sunglasses on my head and a deep breath, I stepped into the fan-laden TravelCuts office and sat down with an agent.

Considering my easy going nature with flights and dates the travel agent did what she called an Open Jaw search…whatever that means, and ended up with a price of 484.84$ for a return trip flying to Europe.  I couldn’t believe it – my jaw almost hit the desk.  After getting her to repeat the price I searched through my pink purse and called Vegas immediately to tell him the deal, which I and the agent that found it could not believe.  I don’t know if it was because I was a student, or if I just got lucky, but I knew from friends who have flown to London before that it’s never ever that cheap, especially for this time of the year.

I didn’t book it then and there: a) because I still had 606$ sitting at home that was going on my VISA card – necessary to book flights – b) because I still hadn’t mentioned to my parents my semi-coherent thoughts of going to Europe this summer, and c) I still couldn’t believe it.   Oh, and d) Vegas (being a man) still had not worked out the logistics of his trip, which might I mention again, he had the luxury of time to plan out before hand? Anyway back to my point: Was I actually going to do this? 

I spent that Friday stewing over this notion with my brother Greg.  Both of us, knowing just how paranoid my parents are, hashed out that if this was at all possible for yours truly, a detailed to the hour intinary was necessary of where I would be staying and what I would be doing, along with dates of travel, airline and flight number, me checking into Canada House in London and L’Embassie du Canada en Paris… plus sending this information via email and CC-ing Greg and letting him talk the rest out of it to my parents.  It sure seemed like a lot of work for a whirlwind trip to Europe, which 2 of my good girl friends are doing this year, which 2 of my brothers good friends did last year, which my boss did by himself the year before.  Was I up to it? Was this to be my ‘something stupid’ of my early twenties?  Was I making too big of a deal with irrational fear of the potential backlash from my parents?

After discussing with Vegas and his parents that Saturday… Well… I guess you can say that I’ve gone and done something stupid. And of course it’s when my Sens are FINALLY living up to the hype that’s been placed on their shoulders for the past 9 years instead of rolling over and playing dead… Very funny karma!!?!?!

Anyway back to my point about Saturday – with Vegas’ parents by my side I walked out of the TravelCuts with the notion running through my head that I’d booked myself on a charter flight – flying to London, England and returning from Paris, France – a 10 day excursion in between working and flying home 2 days after I return.  As it turns out the price had risen by 100$ since Thursday, and although I had managed to secure the very last seat on that plane, Vegas was not so lucky.  But I knew that it was now or never, as Vegas’ job in Toronto only allows him 10 vacation days on top of public holidays for the first 2-3 years of employment, and my parents are moving back to the city this August.   I knew that although I would not live with them, I would still be under their sphere of influence more strongly while in Canada than in the Caribbean.   I understand their trepidation and their fear, rational and irrational… but lately I’ve been realizing that I cannot live my life in fear, or in the shadow of their fear, be it rational or irrational.  

And that includes my sometimes paralyzing fear of flying – especially by myself.  The biggest sell to this whole trip was the fact that I would be flying with Vegas at least one way.  But with the one seat taken by yours truly I had the choice to either fly alone or not go at all.   And damnit – I was going to go.  I am going to go.  So instead we decided that Vegas is to fly out on the 28th of May and will take me to his friends flat in the downtown core (after NOT being able to meet me at the airport – why did I agree to do this again?) where my adventure will begin, and he will put me on my flight in Paris to send me back to Montreal, where my adventure will end.  

As we speak, Vegas is putting together the final touches for the interary I am about to send to my parents via email… that’s well over a week due.  Wish me luck – but either way, Carrie’s going… and I’ll do my best to make you feel like you’re coming with me – even though for those of you in Ottawa I’ll be SO jealous that you’re there!


~ by Carrie on May 24, 2007.

15 Responses to “by the throat”

  1. I hope you have a super amazing incredible trip babe! I can’t wait for your stories! I don’t think you’re crazy, I think you’re trying new things and living your life which is awesome!

  2. Good for you for going! You will have a great adventure. Adavan and sleeping pills do wonders for fear of flying…

  3. Fabulous!!! Carrie, you are going to have a blast and be so glad that you did this! Take a deep breath and relax. You will love it. (and, even if you don’t, you will recognize just all that you gain from this trip – but, you will LOVE it)

    When I was 22 I got on a Russian train in Prague (my parents did not know) and went to Moscow with a friend. Our visa was for a weekend in Russia. We went to the train station in St. Petersburg to get our tickets for the long trip back only to find that the train was full – no tickets. We were stuck in Russia with an expiring visa. We did not speak the language. It was scary but fabulous. (I never realized how much I use that word until Bre’s post)

    We ended up getting a flight to Germany and then back to Prague. Then I called my parents.

    Sometimes the best part of being a student and/or in your twenties is the freedom and flexibility to not only do something like this (your trip etc) but that you can do it and that you can enjoy it because there aren’t a ton of things bugging you while you are gone (work, bills, mortgage, kid related stuff etc)

    ENJOY!!! (You better tell us all about it!)

  4. this is so exciting!! you lucky girl you! this is going to be an amazing excursion. make sure to take lots of pictures and i cannot wait to hear all the details!

  5. Good for you!! I took a break from university and went to Europe for a few months and had the time of my life! I was in the same boat as you- trying to figure out if I could afford it, what people would think, how I could fit in the time, but I did go and I did love it. I’m so, so happy for you, you will have a great time!

  6. Do it, do it! I’m glad the end of that post is that you’re carpe diem-ing and doing it! Bon voyage!

  7. Way to go Carrie … you’ll have a relaxed blast.

    Fear of flying … read my post #177 and #178 as well for a lighter note about flying.

    Be well, sweetie.

  8. you won’t regret it! I have a fear of flying- take some gravol believe me it works- takes the edge off

    take lots of pics! Good for you for doing it:)

  9. You will totally not regret this decision! You will have the time of your life and wonder why you hesitated in the first place and then you will want to go back every chance you get. I’m already trying to figure out how I can get back there in August. Bon Voyage!

  10. You’re going to have a great time. Europe is amazing!

  11. You’ll have an awesome time I’m sure. I’ve only been to Europe for a total of 2.5 days but loved every second I was there and am dying to go back. Lucky You!!

  12. Europe?! Carrie that’s terrific! It’s all so wildly adventurous and romantic! Have a great time and dont think for a second about the consequences. When you don’t really think about the consequences of your actions, you’re much more likely to have fun, fall in love, relax, or at the very least, have an adventure. So live for the moment…and when you get back, tell us all about it!

  13. @ Ruby: Woo hoo! I can’t wait for all the stories either – although I hear that internet café’s threaten to take your children they are THAT expensive. Oh well!

    @ Tbone: I’m a fan of lorazepam myself – anti-anxiety AND it’ll knock me out for the duration of the 7 hour flight. Vegas’ already said he’d have a coffee for me when I meet him at Victoria Station!

    @ The Exception: You’re right – I should just relax and enjoy my twenty-something mini Euro trip while I can. My parents are actually pretty cool with it after seeing the 3 page intery … and of course I will tell you about it! How could I not?

    @ brookem: This makes working 2 jobs TOTALLY worth it. I’ve got my 1g memory card all set for London and Paris!

  14. @ brandy: Oh I am glad to hear that it’s been done (successfully) before! I plan on returning after I write my boards but before I start working part/full time depending on the need for nurses vs. the gov’t willingness to pay, but why wait if I can go now?

    @ another twentysomething: Thanks girl! Wish my luck: all I have is a bit of spotty Franglais to get me through!

    @ George: Ha ha ha I will. Thank you!!

    @ B: Gravol knocks me out like a light! My Dr. gave me an Rx for some lorazepam for the flights. It knocks me out too but apparently eases the anxiety. Oh well – we shall see!

  15. @ Carla: Everyone keeps telling me this, especially about Paris. I’m not looking forward to the extra crazy prices in London (2 GPB for just about 1 CDN? Holy crap!!) but the memories will be, as they say, priceless!

    @ the thinker: Thank you! Any tips for a Euro-virgin?

    @ Brrrr…: Ooh… as above yours truly is a Euro-virgin, so I am ecstatic!! TravelCuts has some cheap cheap flights – and you don’t necessarily have to be a student to get in on the deals!

    @ David: Yes, Europe! I’ve never been and considering how I grew up that’s practically sacrilegious! A haha I almost typed sacrelicious. Anyway all my bags are packed, I’m ready to go and you bet I’ll tell ya about it when I come home!

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