Planning a trip of a lifetime

In 22 months, we’ll (god willing) be in the enviable financial position of having our house paid off. We both hate debt, and though neither of us is exactly making tons of money, with careful financial planning (and the move to Maine, mostly), and living within our means, we’ll have the house paid off 15 years from when we had it built.

So, exciting. What we will do when we our free of the burden of a mortgage is yet to be determined. Jon thinks he will reduce his work hours. I may do the same. We both love to just do what we want to do, so I don’t think we are the type of people who will be bored in “semi-retirement.” But one thing we really want to do is go on a really nice trip.

We’ve traveled a fair amount and have been to a lot of the places on our “bucket lists.” I still want to go to Africa, and Spain, and South America, and a dozen other places, but we’ve decided to do a tour of the “celtic world” for this trip. Why? I love England and the British Isles, and so does Jon, and I’m interested in so many things about celtic europe, including the language, art, history, King Arthur and other literary traditions, and just the natural beauty of Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.

So, we are thinking two weeks. What I really want to do is to create a story. And follow that story from place to place. I don’t want to go somewhere and just tick things off of someone else’s list. I want to be educated, and interested, and follow that thread the whole way through the vacation. What I’ve determined is that a package tour is not going to work. I’m going to have to plan this myself. Then Jon wants a pre-trip learning plan, with movies and documentaries and short readings (he doesn’t want to go too in-depth) so he has context for what he sees. Yes, he’s quite demanding. But for me, it’s kind of a dream come true, because I do love to plan! Studies actually show that you get the most enjoyment out of a trip while you’re planning it. So there.

My early thinking is this:

Cornwall (definitely) – My mother has talked about the beauty of Cornwall and the West Country my whole life, and this is one (of many) parts of England I have yet to go to. The natural beauty, the Cornish culture, the King Arthur myth… so much to look forward to.

Wales… – another place my mother has talked up (though I’m not sure she’s actually been there!). Again, so much culture and natural beauty, and more King Arthur!

Scotland. We saw some of Scotland on our honeymoon – Ayr and Edinborough. But we’d love to go to the Highlands and even some of the more remote islands like the Shetlands or Orkney. Though it’s not of the celtic theme, I’d love to see some neolithic sites in Scotland, Ireland, and England. I love the mystery of it all.. we have no idea what any of it meant, but it persists.

Ireland. I’ve always sort of wanted to go to Ireland but wasn’t convinced it was really a bucket list place… until I learned more! Man, there’s so much history there, and they still speak a celtic language! I would love to experience the arts, language, music and culture of Ireland. Plus I have relatives from County Mayo, so I would like to check that out as well.

Possibilities… Brittany, Galicia, other parts of western and central Europe that have a part in the long and varied history of the celts/gauls. I actually didn’t know until recently that Spain was part of the Celtic world. I’ve always wanted to go to Spain, so this might be a good opportunity to squeeze it in!

More to come… Of course I have big plans for creating itineraries, and learning plans – I just think we are not the only ones craving a “story” when we travel. I look forward to planning this… in fact, there is nothing I love more than planning a trip!