In less than three weeks I’m going to be jumping on a plane and heading for Vienna with number two son for a few days of mother/son bonding whilst taking in a bit of culture and no doubt consuming rather a lot of cake! Of course I’m more than a little excited about the trip, but I’m beginning to get a little nervous about the whole thing. You see, this is the first time in decades when I’ll be the one who’s going to be “in charge” and relied upon to make decisions and do any sorting out in a foreign city. For years I depended on husband number one to work out how to get from a to b, make enquires or sort out how to order zwei schnitzels mit kartoffeln salat und apfel strudel mit schlagsahn bitte Herr Ober! I was quite happy to let him pretty much do everything. Now I’m not saying that number two son is incapable of being able to work out a metro map or order a cup of coffee, far from it, but he’ll think that as I learnt german at school (circa 1975 ) and have already been to Vienna for at two night stay I am in his eyes extremely knowledgable in all aspects of being a tourist in the Austrian capital and therefore it’s his old mum that should take the lead! I’m not complaining, and it’ll be nice for a change to take some responsibility but I am starting to brick it a bit about problems that haven’t even happened and more than likely never will. What if I cock-up checking in at Heathrow? What if we buy the wrong tickets for the train into Vienna? What if we can’t find our Air B&B apartment? What if, what if, what if!
Truth be told I’m really annoyed with myself for this rather wimpy attitude towards going on an adventure. What has happened to the confident girl I used to be who was more than happy to travel across Europe on my own ? The first time I ever flew was by myself at 16 when I flew to Zürich and then made my own way to Austria by train. Having friends in a Tyrolean village I often made the journey there by myself. Sometimes I misread timetables and ended up on the wrong train.There was the time I discovered that my train was first class only and spent the entire journey dodging the ticket inspector! Sometimes I did things that today shock the sensible me. I once went off with a complete stranger in Munich who got chatting with me at the railway station and offered to take me to see a museum. Fortunately for me that’s exactly what he did and I had a lovely afternoon. I can’t believe how stupid I was to take such a huge risk but at the time I thought nothing of it.
I have always loved discovering new countries and travelling. I’ve never been a “proper” traveller. No gap year adventure for me, or hiking in far-flung lands and attempting anything “extreme” which truth be told I really regret missing out on. I’m sure there were people my age in the late 70’s and early 80’s packed backpacks and flew off to explore the four corners of the world and I might be wrong here, but for most of us then a back packing island hopping holiday in Greece was about as adventurous as it got. And yes, I did do that and got the t-shirt to prove it!
I’ve never been a package holiday person. I have always preferred to do my own organising which wasn’t easy in the days before the internet. I’ve actually only ever had two holidays staying in a hotel. One of those was an 18-30 holiday in Crete. I remember spending most of that holiday going on cultural excursions. Oh how times have changed!
I yearn to travel more. I miss it immensely but sadly Mr R won’t fly. I love the thrill of taking off and being thousands of feet above the ground, but it absolutely terrifies him. He finds it so frustrating that there’s a big beautiful world out there and yet he can’t physically get on a plane to discover it. I’m sad at the thought of no longer going further afield than a day or two travel by car. As much as I love Europe I still want to visit Asia, Australia and more of The States. I’ve suggested that he goes on a Fear of Flying course but he thinks that they are full of attention seeking people. I might have to resort to the “clobbering him over the head after filling him with Valium or beta blockers” technique to get him on a bloomin’ plane. I bet once he comes to he’s bound to really enjoy every minute of the flight. Ermmm…who am I kidding!
So, going back to my impending trip to Vienna. I need to stop looking for problems before they even arise. Stop being a wuss and remember that I’m more than capable of coping without relying on anyone else to do the sorting out in a foreign country. Don’t play the “I’m your mum so therefore I must take charge” role and let my 24-year-old son be a grown up who is more than capable to of making decisions for himself. I’m going to be the confident traveller I used to be and we are absolutely going to have one brilliant time in the city of culture, coffee shops and yummy Sacher torte!