I Just Heart Travel Stories

May 22, 2015 by

          “Hey! How was your vacation?” I asked one of my coworkers while snacking on carrots in the kitchen at work yesterday. (Have I mentioned that my work stocks the cupboards and fridges every Monday? This week was a bad example, because Monday was a holiday, but typically, we have much more than carrots.)

          “It was awesome!” he said.

          “Good!” I smiled. “Where did you go again?”

          “We drove along the Pacific coast,” he said before listing off the cities where he and his friends stopped.

          “Oh! This was the trip to California with your friends? I thought you already went on that. How much did it cost to do the drive?”

          “Well, it’s all car and hotels, so it depends what your standards are.”

          “I’m pretty comfortable roughing it,” I responded.

          “Yeah, see, I’m at a stage in my life where I’m done with that,” he made me laugh, considering he’s only in his thirties.

          “You won’t even rough the car?” I asked.

          “The car, I’d rough, but we didn’t,” he grinned. “We got an SUV.”

          “What was the gas like on that?”


          “Yeah, I’d think so,” I laughed.

          “Especially because we were driving uphill a lot. An SUV,” he warned, “not the best for driving up cliffs with winding roads. And Crater Lake – do you know anything about Crater Lake?”

          I nodded no.

          “It’s a national park, and the lake is a crater filled with water. It’s still winter there.”


          “When driving through Crater Lake, you’re basically driving through mountains,” he explained. “So it was overcast and rain for most of the drive, which you would expect of the south Pacific coast, and then we hit Crater Lake: winter. Pure winter.”

          “Were you expecting that?” I giggled.

          “No,” his eyes widened. “I had a hoodie. That was the extent of it,” he said, making me laugh harder. “But then, literally, right as we crossed the border into California, right as we crossed the border: sunshine!” he beamed, spanning his hands through the air above him as if to paint the beautiful picture.

          I smiled at the imagery. “California’s on my list,” I told him. “I don’t know if I’ll go anywhere this year though. I took a big trip to Paris in the fall, and I still feel like I just got back, so I think I’m good on the travel front right now.”

          “I’m the opposite,” he said. “I come back, and I’m like, I gotta go!”

          That used to be me, I thought to myself in amusement.

          “How long did you go to Paris for?” he asked.

          “Five weeks,” I told him.

          “Five weeks?” he repeated with his mouth agape. “I was there for like four days over the holidays.”

          “Oh, that must have been so pretty!” I squealed at the thought of Paris at Christmas time.

          Weird, I thought. I would have seen Paris dressed up for the holidays had I stayed in Europe, since my original flight out was scheduled to depart from Paris on December 19.

          “Did you like Paris?” I asked. “I know most people have strong opinions either for or against it.”

          “I loved it!” he said.

          “Me too. I think I like Rome more, because of the culture and probably because I’m Italian –”

          “Probably,” he laughed.

          “– but Paris is definitely the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen.”

          In continuing to talk about Europe, I found out that he’s covered a lot of it.

          “What’s your favourite country in Europe that you’ve been to so far?” I asked.

          “Spain, for sure!” he answered without hesitation.

          “What was your favourite part of Spain?”


          “So many people say that!” I exclaimed.

          “Because it’s beautiful!” he stressed.

          “Okay, I came home from Paris after five weeks, but I was supposed to be in Europe for three months,” I backtracked. “I got homesick. I don’t usually get homesick, but that time I did,” I briefly explained.

          He understandingly shrugged, as if to say that’s okay.

          “But had I stayed,” I continued, “Spain would have been next.”

          “Well, when you do go to Spain, let me know. I’ll show you the route I took along the coast.”

          “Will do!” I smiled.

          “I expect a trip to Spain booked in three weeks!” he joked.

          “Just got back from Paris, friend!” I reminded with a laugh.

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