The world’s most expensive vacation

We didn’t go to Italy last year. About a month before we were supposed to depart, the tumor was discovered.

Photo Oct 11, 12 20 13 PM

My doctor said I could travel, but Mom was reluctant.

“I’m not traveling with you–you’re a ticking time bomb!” she said.

OK then!

We postponed, lost money* and I had surgery. There was a two month-ish acute recovery period. I survived. We agreed to figure out a new trip for 2017 once I was in the clear health-wise. And I more or less am. Yay.

But when we looked at the Abercrombie & Kent offering for 2017, the Italy tour dates weren’t ideal. Mom wanted to stick with a Fall trip so she could continue her quest to make the LPGA tour win her golf club’s ladies’ league.

Guess what: she and her golf partner actually did win the league so the sacrifice was apparently worthwhile.

I had some Fall work commitments, though, that made scheduling tough. We bickered for a while. Mom put restrictions on places she would go.

She vetoed Croatia. “But it’s like undiscovered Italy, kinda!” I said, but she was unswayed. I feel confident that within the next two or three years. all of her friends will be going to Croatia and she’ll ask me why we haven’t yet gone there.

I advocated for France – wine! cheese! – but Mom still holds a grudge against the country for not supporting George Bush (I KNOW). Meanwhile she still drinks only Grey Goose vodka which is very much French.

In the end, I kind of got my wish: Mom approved a trip that visited Amsterdam, Paris and London. I felt triumphant–at least until Mom said, post-booking, “oh great. Two cities I never wanted to visit!” London was the one that interested her, but recent terrorist activity muted her excitement for that one too.

Time passed. We booked flights but otherwise didn’t give much thought to our trip until Summer 2017 rolled around.

And then the tour company called to tell me that my mother and I were the ONLY TWO TRAVELERS confirmed for the tour.

I felt guilty for being horrified by the idea of traveling with just my mother and a guide for almost two weeks. What in the world would we talk about for all of that time?!

But when I told my mother the news, along with the option we were given to change to another tour, Mom didn’t hide her feelings. She too was looking forward to the company of other travelers.

Whew. Can you imagine?

A&K even sweetened the offer if we were to switch: they offered to waive any price difference if we chose a more expensive tour and refund the price difference if we chose a cheaper tour.

Would it have killed them to have been this flexible and kind when my tumor was found?

I tried to use the latter provision to get Mom to reconsider Croatia–we would have received at least $4000 back–but no dice.

And that’s how we ended up going to Italy after all. Even with a credit toward flight change fees, the trip got even more expensive.

But we had fun, mostly. While we did a lot of mutual eye-rolling, we never had a blow-out fight.

We stayed in Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre and Venice, and made stops in Siena, Pisa, Lucca, Modena and Verona (that’s a lot of ground covered).

We walked about 10k steps per day according to the many FitBits on the trip and yet I still somehow gained approximately eight pasta pounds that I am still trying to lose.

I would do it all again if I could.

*To be honest, I’m still angry with Abercrombie & Kent for how they treated us when I shared my news. They put on terrific tours (and our guide Emanuela was FANTASTIC), but if you book with them, you NEED travel insurance in case anything like an incidentaloma shows up.

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