Monday 27 May 2013

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Why Travel Can't Wait

You know what's not a fun way to spend the weekend? Going through your parents paperwork. For an accountant, Mom sure lacked a system or any organization in her filing. Searching through mountains of random sheets of paper is confusing but even worse than that, it's time consuming. Everything is kind of on hold while the business of taking care of the estate is handled. For instance, this was the weekend that we were supposed to be at Disney's Monstrous All Nighter, but that had to be scrubbed. The boy understands, but what's really frustrating me is that every time my kids come to me and ask "What are we doing this summer?" the only answer I can give them at the moment is that "travel is going to have to wait". 

Yesterday, while cleaning out a file marked "Misc.", I came across this:

six week cruise Australia expenses price

It seems that just after his retirement, Dad was starting to make plans to do one of those trips he'd been looking forward to when he "had a little more time". This one looks like a doozy. A six week Australian cruise. Now let's just take a second and take a look at that. Six weeks is a long time to spend on a boat. I took a seven day Disney cruise a couple of years ago and I think I probably gained nine or ten pounds. Doing the math on that...well let's just say that the ship will need a much higher buoyancy rating for the last couple weeks of that six week journey.

Disney Magic restaurant food
The "We can eat anything you bring out!" pose.

Ignoring the weight issue though, let's look at the cost. On a per day basis, it's probably not all that bad, but $25,000 is a lot of money. It looks like Dad had enough points for one airfare, but a second flight to Sydney at $2500? I usually price out round trip flights down under at about $1000 from the Pacific Northwest. Either Dad was going first class or he was a lousy flight shopper. Might want to reconsider your tipping budget too Dad. That's a little low, although it's good to see that you did allocate the funds for a rather high bar bill. That's planning ahead. 

too full overeat nap on table
The "Why did I eat so much?" pose.

Realistically though, if you can afford the trip it sounds like a great experience. So what happened? Well this trip was in the planning stages during May 2006. Just after that, my mom got sick. Real sick. The kind of sick that the doctors tell you you're not going to recover from. So instead of planning his dream trip, Dad shifted out of travel mode and into taking care of Mom mode. He did a really good job of it too. Despite the grim prognosis, Mom actually recovered and came home. Then, just after Mom got settled back in, Dad suddenly passed away. 

So now I'm left looking at a sheet of paper that represents one of my Dad's unfulfilled dreams. Don't get me wrong...Dad would have gladly given up his dream trip in exchange for Mom getting better and coming home again, but what I really wish is that he could have had both. If anybody worked hard enough to deserve getting to enjoy his golden years it was my Dad, but unfortunately life didn't work out for him that way. It's sad, but what it tells me is that I need a better answer for my children. The next time they come to me and ask "Where are we going this summer?" I have to have a better answer for them. I can't tell them that travel will have to wait because really, it can't.