So, what now?


Well, okay.

So here’s the thing.

I got to work this morning (a little sleepy, but happy) and Allison crooked a finger at me and said “I need to talk to you about something.” (Great. Just great. The phone computer was broke when I got to work Saturday morning and I didn’t put the numbers in the book because I wanted Melanie to get in trouble because I’m tired of cleaning up other people’s messes.) I had the whole speech worked up in my head. I didn’t want today to turn into this terrible Monday from Hell. So I followed her into the sales office and watched her pull out her little Black Book, which holds all of the vacation times and FAMs (familiarization tour for all you non travel industry peeps out there. Basically, tour operators put these out there for travel agent to get familiarized with different tours these companies operate.) for the res department.

Maybe I should explain what I do before I continue.

I work for a tour operator in New Hampshire, a highly prominent tour operator who’s been in business for 55 years. Basically, we operate tours in Asia, Europe, Russia, Latin and South America, the Middle East. When you go into a travel agency, you pick up a brochure of the operator. There’s a bunch. Kontiki, Trafalger, Talc, Globus, Uniglobe, Gateone, Abercrombie and Kent, etc, etc. There’s hundreds of them. You pick up one of their brochures and pick out the tour you want, your travel agent (AAA, Carlson Wagonlit, American Express, whatever) picks up the phone and calls us. We set it up for them (book the hotels, land arrangements, sightseeing, airline tickets) and pay them a commission for booking with us (I get paid an itsy-bitsy commission on each booking I make. Couple hundred a month, and it’s a living).

So, yeah, anyway, back to the marketing office. Allison opens her little book and says “Do you want to go to Thailand in October?” She totally said it deadpan and I had to have her repeat herself. Thailand, man. That’s a 21 hour flight from Boston. I can’t even imagine. While I was trying to fathom what she was telling me, I managed to stammer “Do I still get to go to Russia?” (I’m signed up for a FAM to Russia in November. It’s the only place I ever wanted to travel and Allison promised I could go. I was signed up last year, but after 9/11, they cancelled all the FAMs. So I didn’t get to go. Last year, right around this time, they asked me if I wanted to go to India and Nepal, but I had to choose between Russia and India. I chose Russia and the Air India flight bound for Delhi left 9/10. They were in the air on September 11th and didn’t known it happened until they landed the next morning. Imagine that.) She said yes. I asked “Do I still get all my vacation time?” (I’m going to Costa Rica in December with my friend and neighbor Lora.) She laughed and said yes.

So, I have this fabulous trip to Thailand (Bangkok, Chiang Mai and the River Kwai) sitting in my lap (and I get to go with my friend Kim from work). And I’m scared to death. Three and a half hours, Boston to Chicago. Thirteen hours in a plane from Chicago to Tokyo. Six and a half hours, Tokyo to Bangkok.

Good Lord.

My stomach is full of butterflies.

I can’t be scared.

It’s the opportunity of a life time.

Why can’t I get my eyes open and see that?


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