I've never been to Europe before, but have dreamt of going for as long as I can remember. My grandmother wanted to send me to Europe, or was it Ireland specifically, when I graduated from college back in 1994 but at that point could not afford it. A year or so later I looked at joining the Peace Corp (I chose teaching English in Eastern Europe), but found that I couldn't go because I would still need to pay a private student loan $400/month and the basically $5/month I would make in Eastern European currency would not exactly cover it. Greatly disappointed, I continued to practice english with my new Bosnian refugee friend Belma. After moving to Seattle 1999 I talked to my cousin in Austria about visiting for years, but as much as I wanted to I just couldn't scrape together the funds to go.
Five years ago I acquired a passport which I knew was the first step if I would ever be traveling to Europe. (Who knew that soon after getting my passport I would need it to go just to Canada, where a drivers license was all that was required before). So here I am with 5 years left on my passport, with friends Martin and Kelly from Seattle now living in Luxembourg, and a friend willing to loan me money to go, I will be going in January 2009. Martin will turn 40 on January 6th and on his most recent visit to Seattle announced that he wanted to celebrate in Paris and invited people to join him. Fares are low for that time of year, and somehow I'm finally making it happen. The plan is to spend 3 days in Paris and then stay with Martin and Kelly in Luxembourg for 4 more, flying into and out of Paris. Yes, it's only a week, and if I did it "right" I'd stay longer, travel to more places, use more PTO from work, need to save/spend more money.... and would end up never going.
Thank you, I'll take the week I'm getting. :^)