I admit to feeling ambivalent about writing a blog about a trip. Above all else, I don't want this to feel like boasting. A few people have said that it would not be, that they had a desire to live vicariously through a blog. This argument appeals to me because I like to do the same; and yet, some people don't feel that way. Those people shouldn't read this blog.
At the same time, I want my readership to know that I am intensely aware that this trip is a privilege, or just good fortune or a blessing, in many ways. A lot of factors have come together to make it possible. My family presently has good health. My husband has retired early, so he has time (finally!). His career earnings have enabled us to afford the trip. Our older children are out of the house (and Liam said he wouldn't come home for spring break!), and our youngest is still in elementary school, so her school has seen this trip for what it is: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; National Geographic, the tour operator, only operates these trips during the school year. In a couple more strokes of luck, our oldest has been granted time off from her part-time job and can come with us, AND another family on the trip is ALSO bringing a child close to Aili's age: an 11 year old. I mention this convergence of almost amazing coincidences because a difference in any one of them could have made this trip an impossibility, and I know it is an impossibility for many.
One of my hobbies is genealogy, and as long as I'm on the subject of privilege, I want to share some of the historical good fortune that led to my even being here. To be alive today is to have had endless ancestors that survived long enough through wars, diseases, and even addiction or depression or mental illness to procreate and help their children survive... that may sound obvious, but when I look at the pachinko machine of my family's history, it seems darn fortunate that my father served in the USAF just before the Vietnam War kicked into overdrive. My father-in-law served in the Army during the occupation of Japan and again later at White Sands. My great-grandfather, Simon Jr., dropped dead at the age of 42 when my grandfather was a young adult and there were four or five mouths still to feed at home; the younger kids didn't seem to have fared as well. My grandfather's grandfather, Simon Sr., was an alcoholic, and he, too, lost his father at a younger age, as a result of a mining accident. Likewise, my paternal grandmother's father died when she was nine, and her older brothers took over the store and kept the family afloat. My paternal grandfather's mother left a debutante life to marry her husband and encamp in the bottom of the Grand Canyon; my grandfather lived as a toddler there among the rattlesnakes. I have NO idea what that was about.
At any rate, I could go on and on about luck and fortune and privilege, and I want to be sure that you know I understand I AM counting my blessings on this one. This blog is intended to be sharing, not boasting.
Jenny Moseley, you are responsible.
We are taking a trip around the world, and Jenny suggested I blog about it... I had planned to start a website anyway, so the good news is that I get to double down on my look/feel by trying this out first. Please do not feel obligated to follow this blog. If only Jenny ends up reading it, and even if she only reads a page or two, I'm down with that.