In HOW TO RUIN A SUMMER VACATION, Amy Nelson gets dragged to Israel against her will, to spend summer vacation with her extended family. At first, she is certain she's going to hate it. She's miles away from her friends, boyfriend, cell phone, and shopping mall. But by the end of the book, she's having the time of her life. She's learned to appreciate the oh-so-foreign culture--and the people!
Travel is always a bit of a risk. Will you like where you're going? Will it be better than you expect? Worse? Will you have fun? Will you learn something? Will you be bored? Excited? Moved to tears? The thing is, you never know until you go. And you'll almost always be surprised.
That happened to me in a trip just after I finished graduate school. My program sponsored a travel fellowship for a class trip, and our class chose to visit Prague. A friend and I flew out early so we had two glorious weeks. But the truly magical part of the trip was one the way home. Through lucky happenstance, our return flight came with an "overnight" layover in Paris. And by "overnight" I mean 8 hours. Arrive at midnight. Depart at eight in the morning. Not enough time to do much, right? Wrong.
My mom's friend who lives in Paris and her daughter, Laura, met us at the airport. After dropping our luggage at their apartment, the daughter's boyfriend--a professional chauffeur--picks us up in a luxury sedan. For the next two hours he and Laura gave us a whirlwind tour of the city of lights. We flew down the Champs Elysee, past the Louvre and the Ritz-Carlton, the couture shops, the Hotel des Invalides, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, and made it to the Eiffel Tower just in time to see the twinkling light show. Then we topped off the night with champagne at the Buddha Bar--favorite haunt of Madonna and the like.
Could I have planned this? Not on your life. The moral of the story is that you should never write off an experience, because it might turn out to be the most magical one of all.
Now it's your turn to share. Have you ever been surprised (either good or bad) on a vacation? Post your story in the comments and enter to win a copy of Buzz girl book, TOP TEN USES FOR AN UNWORN PROM DRESS.
OH. MY. GODS. -- May 2008 from Dutton Children's Books