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Who are you going with?

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“Who are you going with?” It’s one of the first questions people ask me when they hear I am planning to go to 50 places I’ve never been the year I turn 50.

My answer is always, “that depends.” 

The older I get the more I realize that the way you see the world –and yourself–is largely influenced by the people around you.  So I’m giving real thought to who I want to spend time with on the biggest trip I’ve ever taken in my life. 

I know my daughter will come with me for much of it. She is my favorite travel companion. I took her on her first flight when she was just 14 days old. My husband at the time was out of town for work and I had to pack her up and haul her through the airport by myself. She and I have been traveling together ever since. One time when she was about 4 years old, I had to go to the county courthouse for a speeding ticket and she started to take her shoes off going through security. I had to explain it wasn’t an airport. I love seeing the world through her eyes. I always say she’s going to run the world someday. I think she should see it first.

My sisters are next on my list. There are 5 of us. Each one totally different yet remarkably the same. They make me laugh like no one else. They make me crazy like no one else. They are there for me like no one else. I’ve decided they get the actual birthday celebration. Truth is, they are all so busy with their own lives that the actual birthday may be the only way I can convince them to take time away for a sisters trip.

Some trips I plan to take with friends. I’m lucky to have friends all over the country. I’m also lucky they mostly support my crazy projects. Right now the plan is to kick off the year 2020 in Iceland with the goal of seeing the Northern Lights. My daughter and I are going with our adventure friends, the Einsweillers (Hiking in My Flip Flops) . So far I have plenty of friends who’ve said they’d love to go with us somewhere. I may also need to sleep on a few couches. I expect I’ll meet a few new friends along the way too.

I’d love to take a trip with my parents. I thought about getting the whole family together somewhere. All 6 kids, spouses (well except me) and 20 plus grandkids. I can picture the smile on my parents’ faces with all of us in one place. But the truth is, I’d love to spend some alone time with my mom and dad. They aren’t getting any younger and because I live far away from them I don’t get to see them anytime I’d like. They are two of the wisest, and most loving human beings on this planet and I feel like I need to soak them in a little.

I’m also going to take at least one trip on my own. I don’t know where but I feel like it’s important to this journey. I know people who have gone on vacation by themselves. I admire that. I mean, I’ve gone to a restaurant by myself but usually, I pass time on my laptop. It seems like spending days by myself without anyone to talk to would be lonely. But given the recent turns my life has taken I think it’s important I learn to spend more time by myself. After all, my daughter will be going to college in a few years and I’ll have even more alone time.

Figuring out who I am going with has been a wonderful part of planning this trip. I have some great people in my life. People who love me. People who love adventure. People who are just crazy enough to say Yes.