For years I have believed I could compete on The Amazing Race. Whether I would win or not would depend upon finding the right partner. By “right partner” I mean someone who is a triathlete who can drive stick shift, has high tolerance for eating disgusting things and is willing to wear a fanny pack, because I sure as hell am not wearing it. My role would be to use my mad navigation skillz and gift for evil strategy to mess with the other teams. If all else failed, I would maximize my cleavage to gain assistance from the locals or offer sexual favors to Phil Keoghan. (You know I have a soft spot for Kiwis…)
Sadly, I haven’t been on a real vacation in 10 years, when I visited Rome with my ex. When I say I am overdue for a vacation, I’m not kidding. With the expectation that my last remaining dog will be leaving me this year, I have set aside my meager tax refund for a vacation. It may not be enough to manage more than youth hostels, but perhaps those are good places to troll for cougar bait. With that budget it won’t be the vacation that crosses any of the places off my long travel bucket list, but I plan on conquering that list like a game of Risk once I become published and collect a fat check for competing on Dancing with the Stars.
My travel destinations are, in fact, quite limited by a strict checklist I run through during my planning process.
The first question I ask is: Is it hot? I hate the sun. I blame this on the past life where I supposedly had some weird skin disease that was exacerbated by the sun and basically the sun killed me. So I’m holding a grudge in this life. In all seriousness, I don’t like sweating. And I at least credit this for keeping me out of the sun and therefore not aging my skin. I like looking 5 years younger and if that means wearing SPF 250 and an obnoxious hat, so be it. I don’t know how to swim, and I won’t wear a bathing suit in public for obvious reasons involving well-meaning Greenpeace volunteers who respond to beached sea mammals. This eliminates pretty much most of the southern hemisphere.
The second question is: How long is the flight and what airlines can I take to get there? I do not like flying. Especially now with all the suicidal pilots and disappearing planes I’m feeling like they are flying death traps. So you won’t catch me on a flight that is longer than 7-8 hours. I’m afraid if I were to attempt to go to New Zealand, which for obvious accent whore reasons is on my bucket list, I’m afraid you’d be seeing me on the news as “American woman suffers panic attack and breaks into tiny alcohol bottle supply on plane before screaming that everyone is about to die”, then having to undergo the Homeland Security investigation before determining I am not a terrorist but just really paranoid about plunging toward death in the Andes and then having to play rock/paper/scissors with my fellow survivors about who gets killed and eaten first. The other half of my dilemma is not trusting any American airlines. Hey, how many service workers in this country really do their job? Why would I trust an American airline mechanic? I try to limit my airlines to Northern European companies. I feel like they are happier people, so maybe they actually take pride in their work. This is why when I traveled to Rome it took nearly 24 hours….flying Icelandair into Reykjavik, then KLM to Amsterdam and on to Rome. I sure as hell wasn’t trusting any Italian mechanics. As it was the security in the Rome airport was so easily distracted by a young Sophia Loren lookalike that I could have smuggled chunks of the Colosseum out in my bra and they wouldn’t have noticed.
Finally, I ask: Are the men attractive enough for a torrid affair I could later write about? Since it is highly likely my next vacation will be alone, I admit to having those fantasies [delusions] about meeting some hot foreigner in a bar or bakery (the only places I frequent) and turning my trip into a hot sextravaganza. To be realistic, I have to limit my choices to places where I am not likely to end up like Natalee Holloway or kidnapped by the Russian Mafia or a Saudi prince and sold as a sex slave. Again this seems to lead me to Northern Europe. I don’t think there is a Norwegian mafia, but if there is they are probably very polite.
With that criteria in mind, it appears my next travel destination will be Iceland, where I can climb a glacier and hop in the Blue Lagoon (with my floaties and wetsuit) with some hot Icelander. Ireland was in the running, but I don’t think my budget will afford that bar tab.