“bad ideas make the best memories”

According to Alle Farben anyway. The song has been my Ohrwurm today (translation: “ear worm”, which is just a brilliant German word for “Mmm-bop”). So I’ve been enjoying some fond memories of my very best bad decisions this morning. I’ve also been thinking it’s been awhile since I’ve made one (assuming polishing off an entire bottle of my new favorite white wine from Lake Garda doesn’t count). And then I was thinking of near-future opportunities that might be ripe with bad-decision potential (not easy when you’re responsible for the well-being of a one-year-old).

I’m thinking a couple one-way plane tickets might be the answer–which we just happen to already be in possession of.

Summer is a rather miserable time to travel if you’ve got a slim budget and misanthropic tendencies. But the Fernweh (another great German word, the translation of which approximates “pain caused by all the things that prevent one from traveling”) kicked in a couple months ago, and combined with a newly-acquired #traveladdict instagram habit, waiting until September seemed akin to watching Paula Dean whip up one of her legendary dessert bombs while trying to adhere to a sugar-free diet. Torture.

So when I stumbled across a one-way flight to London for $29 (a great price for end of June, no less), we booked it. No return ticket, no idea where/what we would do when we got there—just the (maybe misguided) romantic notion of following our whims, backpacks our only luggage, going by bus or train or plane wherever cheap tickets would lead us.

As crazy as this sounds–especially to we Americans who can’t fly anywhere for under $200, thanks to the oligopoly of the terrible triad (i.e., United, American, Delta)–it’s actually not unrealistic in the off-season months. One really can go to the airport, pick a destination within Europe, and be able to find a carrier that will take you to that destination for $50 or less. This is not, however, the case in the summer. And we know this. But the lure was just too strong, we were just too caught up in the exhilaration of a new adventure to plan, that we sort of glazed over this reality. In the moment, everything seemed possible—everything would be possible. No matter what.

This, folks, is what happens when travel addicts press the “Purchase” button underneath a flight itinerary. It’s like taking that first bump—so glorious that there can be no more thought of what happens next.

Whether I will be writing a cautionary tale in the near future remains to be seen. I am holding out a bit of hope that this one-way ticket will be the key to unlock this bohemian fantasy of ours. But if not (and my left brain is screaming that the odds are not in our favor), maybe we’ll at least make a few good memories—even if they are of riding in smelly buses and landing in ugly places and eating too many stale pretzels. Gambling is almost always a bad idea—but we’ll take it this time.

 

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