My friend Bill (not his real name) told me the other day he’s started a destination wedding business. My first thought was “how hard can that be? You just cram a bunch of twenty somethings on an island, then marry off whoever’s left after the last rose ceremony”.
Apparently, it’s not as simple as that. Bill sets me straight – “No, the lovey lovey, kissy kissy bit is already sorted. Our job is to plan all the flights, hotels, venues, catering etc etc”. I’m a bit shocked. “You can do all that stuff?” Bill confides – “Nah, I employ a bunch of experts. I’m just the management.”
Why do I tell you this story? Well, like Bill, I now truly understand my limitations as a travel planner. Here’s how it all went down. Actually, down and out.
I’m sitting on the couch in Canada with my darling wife and daughter. The discussion has turned to how Nanette and I usually slip away for a few days mid-visit “to give the kids a break.” We have a rough idea of dates, but no real plan of where to go. I reckon it’s time to step up, so I offer to come up with something. A couple of sceptical looks are directed my way. “No, really. I can think of lots of options.” “Yeah? Like what?” Quick – open the laptop and Google “travel”. Oh, six zillion web pages. Ok, narrow it to “travel – North America”.
“Got it! We can go back to one of those all-inclusive resorts in Mexico!” Frosty look this time. “So, you’re going to fly off and leave us, just to laze around beside a pool in Mexico, hmm?” Fortunately, my brain switches in just before I verbalise my confirmation – “Er, no, and besides, there’s way too much violence in Mexico these days.” Whew, that was close.
“Ok, well, we could fly up north to Whitehorse. The Yukon’s beautiful at this time of year, and we can stay at this lodge. The website says you get to see bison, and elk, and wolves and – oh – is that the price? Um – er – that’s each?” No looks at all from across the room this time, but man, that eye roll sure says it all. Quick! Think! Think!
“How about Vegas? The flights are cheap and we could visit the Grand Canyon.” “And the temperature right now is?” Um, how do you convert 115 degrees into Celsius?
Aha! In a stroke of pure genius, I latch onto a simple solution. “Well, you know how we’re all going to Vancouver Island for a week. Mum and I can just stay on for a few days at the end.” So far, so good. They actually seem interested. I’m on a roll. “We can hire a car when you leave, then mosey on at our own pace up to the top of the island.” Hey, was that a nod I spotted? “This tourism website says there’s lots to see and do. We can relax on secluded beaches, walk the back trails in the woods, and maybe even have a few nights in a cabin somewhere away from it all.” Nailed it!
Kirsty raises one eyebrow. “So, is your travel insurance all paid up?” What a strange question. Time for a witty reply. “Of course it is, and besides – haha – we don’t skydive into volcanoes or go cliff jumping these days.” She’s not impressed. “Actually, I was referring to the fact that they haven’t caught the serial killer yet. You did see the news reports, didn’t you?” I hadn’t quite spotted those specific reports – hmm – multiple disappearances – body parts from victims washed up on beaches over a nine-year period – Vancouver Island. “But, there um, haven’t been any disappearances since ….”
Time to admit defeat. I guess I had better leave the planning to the experts.