My main priority before I die....wait for it...is to spend some vacation time in an overwater bungalow somewhere on earth, preferably Bora Bora, Moorea or the Maldives. For the geographically challenged, Bora Bora and Moorea are in the South Pacific and the Maldives are located just west of the southern tip of India. Basically they are on opposite sides of the planet.
|You know that Islands calendar you have hanging in your office? There's a good chance it has a lot of Maldives photos.|
Al and I will be finished teaching, permanently, March 31. I've been sort of frantic about all the travelling opportunities I am going to be losing once back in America and if it were up to me I'd spend every last penny we have on trying to see as many places as possible before heading home. But because that's, you know, not the brightest idea, we decided we are going to head home via Europe and travel around there for a month using, much to Al's half delight, half dismay, only some of our savings.
Because scouring the internet for travel deals seems to make me happier than most things, I decided to put in Seoul-Male (Maldives capital) to see how much it would cost to add a dream location stopover on our way to London. My logic going into this was sound: It's close, it's on the way, why not! Yes, I know the Maldives are one of the most expensive vacation destinations on earth...who cares. So when the results showed that it was only $350 to fly there (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) it sent my travel planning into overdrive and I immediately delved into major Maldives research. After about two weeks of major reading, emailing travel agents and pretty much exhausting the internet for prices and information, I found some really amazing deals for packages. I found some with water bungalows for 4 nights or beach front 3 nights/water bungalow 1 night. Both of these, including flight there, came to under $3,000. That is a STEAL for the Maldives, especially when all the rest of our vacations have cost that much anyway. Even a vacation to Myrtle is going to run you into the thousands. So to me, this is well worth the expense. So then it's time to bring the final numbers to Al.
Al is vacation cheap. He's not really cheap in real life, he will easily spend a few hundred just on a night out with everyone here, but when it comes to vacations, it doesn't matter how badly he would want to go, all he sees are dollar signs flying out the windows. Really, I think it's because he doesn't have something to show for it when the money is paid. If he's going out, he pays money, he gets a beer, he pays money, he gets a karaoke room, he pays money, he gets something. But travel, you shell out a lot of money for flights and hotels and experiences, not things that he can physically hold and see he paid all this money for. I am the exact opposite, so there were a few disagreements on this subject. I did some final number crunching and realized that if we did the Maldives, we could only do one or two cities in Europe. Now I was the one questioning things. Was I willing to give up a lot of Europe travel for time in the Maldives? Was I willing to give it up and not stay in an overwater bungalow and just have a fab vacation on one of the most beautiful beaches on earth? Yes, that will do. So then I spent another week doing more research on how cheap it would be to go to the Maldives cutting out the water bungalow. Disappointment was an understatement, but my desire to step foot in this island nation and see those beaches for myself took over. Found a resort for $1300, with food! Score! But with flights to there and then to London adds a lot more cost...ugh. I give up. If we did both places and did them right (ie overwater AND more than two Europe cities), it would probably cost upwards of $10,000. I could easily tell myself that it's completely worth it, but not when we have to buy two cars and have expenses when we arrive in the US. Impossible.
I am sitting here writing this now after many days of not being able to think or even say aloud that we can't go to the Maldives. I made the suckiest, most disappointing, heartbreaking decision of my life. But then...I realized...because we're not going to the Maldives I get to see more of Europe. It's not my dream trade-off, but I'll definitely take it. I could label this something like WAHH WAHHHH, Cry Cry, #teachingabroadproblems, I get to go to Europe instead of the Maldives cry cry cry. I realize this and I also know how lucky I am, don't get me wrong. But like I said in the beginning, if you know me well, you will know how much an overwater bungalow means to me and you will also know how much I'm giving up.
So now I'm in the constant pursuit of European deals. We are really close to narrowing down our itinerary and I'm hoping to get our tickets there booked within the next week or two. We are definitely doing London, Paris and Marrakech (not Europe, it's Africa, I know, but it's super cheap to get there and Morocco? YEAH!). We would like to do Amsterdam and Iceland and Al wants to play St. Andrews golf in Scotland. We also plan to rent a car and drive around France (wineries!) so all those will be add-ons depending on how much he's willing to spend.
I'm just anxious to actually be booking our last flight out of Asia. Lots of weird emotions about that.
I'll keep everybody in the travel loop!