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Travel For Dummies (i.e. moi)

August 23, 2010

I knew there would be certain comforts of home that I would be giving up during our trip (like, um, English) but I’ve since realized even bigger things that I’ll be doing without over the next few weeks:

1) Control
I’m that lady who plans family meals by the week and has Christmas shopping done before Halloween. I’ve been quite happy with my role as family control freak because, let’s face it, sh*t gets done.

On this trip, I’ve had to relinquish control of all matters to just about everyone else: the police station where we registered ourselves upon arrival; my mother-in-law for meals we eat; my kids for when we sleep (Gravol only takes us so far); and, my husband for pretty much everything else.

He now orders for me in restaurants, handles all of our money, and manages our itinerary (which changes hourly). I’m basically responsible for keeping the kids bathed and clothed, and that’s about it. I have to admit, it was difficult to let go at first, but by the time we landed in Belgrade, I was kind of digging it.

I am officially Serbian arm candy.

2) Electronics
This time last year I had a cell phone last seen on Flintstones and a desktop sold during Atari’s heyday. I was not even close to what you would call technologically savvy (I didn’t even get on Facebook until my Grandma did).

In the last six months, I’ve opened Facebook and Twitter accounts, bought an iPhone and Mac, and started a freaking blog. I compulsively check for tweets, likes, messages and comments throughout the day. This drives my husband n.u.t.s.

We’ve brought the Mac with us, but our access to it – and the Internet – is severely curtailed. I’m no longer having Pavlovian responses to pings and dings and rings. I’m definitely more present than I’ve been in weeks. As long as I don’t get too close to an Internet café, I have no problem unplugging from the worldwide everything. This makes my husband s.q.u.e.e. (As much as a 6’3” Serb can do so.)

This is how I first felt without my iPhone.

3)  Expectations
Whenever we travel, I make a point of doing copious amounts of research in advance. I’ve even been known to highlight the odd Lonely Planet guidebook.

Because so much of our focus on this trip has been reuniting with my husband’s family and friends, there’s been nothing for me to plan. We may have a vague idea of the day’s activities, but they’re constantly changing as people show up or new options present themselves.

We’ve discovered outstanding restaurants in tucked away corners and a street fair that became the highlight of our day. All of this because I’m just going with the flow and letting things happen to us, rather than trying to make things happen.

Where we ate lunch yesterday...Under the Serbian Sun...

11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2010 9:01 am

    seriously?? this sounds like heaven. just letting the day happen… what’s that like??!!

    have a wonderful time and i hope the serbian sun warms you through and through!

    • August 23, 2010 3:27 pm

      I AM warm and toasty…but again, that could be the wine. And brandy. And sugar.

  2. August 23, 2010 11:58 am

    I think there are 3 phases to a vacation:
    1. The pre-vacation (time trying to get relaxed for the vacation)
    2. The vacation (you’re relaxed and in the moment)
    3. Post vacation (cry for days because you (I) don’t want to go back to work).

    Sounds like your in phase 1. Move on, phase 2. is where it’s at!

    • August 23, 2010 3:26 pm

      Dammit, Molly – you are SO right. I think I moved firmly into phase 2 today, when I began drinking wine at lunch…either that or I’m channeling Betty Draper…

  3. August 23, 2010 12:00 pm

    Can you pick me up one of those purple tops and matching head scarf??? H-O-T!

    • August 23, 2010 3:25 pm

      Sorry, honey – it’s a European woman’s je ne sais quois that makes that work…otherwise we’d all be wearing them. Obviously.

  4. August 23, 2010 1:48 pm

    I am officially jealous! I hope you are eating well, loving well, visiting well, sleeping well and remembering what life was like before the Internet.

    • August 23, 2010 3:24 pm

      Ha – I am doing an outstanding job of eating/visiting well, working on the sleeping/remembering and have not had a moment for the loving (unless you count the kids, who’ve been sleeping with us…).


  5. Michael permalink
    August 26, 2010 9:03 am


    I’m so envious! Love the pictures and priceless captions. Sounds like an odyssey. Keep my brother from another mutha safe…oh, and the kids too.


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