Yesterday, in the middle of my day, my boss calls me into the boardroom for a private discussion. She tosses down a printed itinerary that I had put up onto our company website designed only for travel agents. Free trips that have agents view and tour the experiences they sell. They’re called “Familiars” or “Fams” for short.
The tour had AUSTRALIA pasted across the front.
“I got you on this Fam,” she says.
I stare. I blink. I look back up at her.
“Yes, free. No charge. Hotels and flights. You’ll probably buy 2 or three meals total for the nine days you’re gone.”
“Can I bring…”
“No sorry. Only one.”
“Does this go towards my vacation days?”
And with that, I’m signed in to spend 9 days downunder.
So now, for the next two weeks, I am running around like a drag queen who’s on stage in 5 minutes and has forgotten her lipstick at home. Amongst all the planning and packing, I have to remember to keep the excitement down because I know SharkBoy is a touch bit jealous. Or he’s happy he’s got the apartment to himself for 9 days. Or both. I worry that I’ll come home to empty Pizza boxes and a pile of laundry the size of Manhattan. Actually I think the challenge will be the dinners my mom wants to have with him while I’m gone: I jokingly said that SharkBoy can’t cook for himself and instantly my mom went into ITALIAN MOM MODE and insisted on a couple husband/in-law dinners. Ha!
In terms of actual travelling, the entire trip is less than business casual so I can skimp on luggage, but I am seriously not looking forward to the 14 hours on a plane. I’ve already had a flying nightmare, which means I have to book a short session with my doctor so I can get sleeping pills. I plan to be so sedated that B-List celebrities will look upon video of me sleeping and say “Damn…”
Don’t think I’ll be lounging by some pool the entire time, no. Nothing is for free. No I will have to sample wines and cheeses and hold koalas and sand ski and you know, sample some nightlife too. It will be hell. (Actually I will be taking a crapload of pictures for the company image library and posting a couple entries to the Facebook page). Here’s my itinerary:
Leave LAX Thursday night, lose a day over the ocean.
Land in Sydney, transfer to Adelaide and arrive Saturday morning. Instantly start touring the city from 10am to 5pm. Lots to see, like the North Terrace, Glenelg and a cathedral so keep up!
Sunday: Fly to Kangaroo Island. Big BBQ and a tour of Seal Bay. Hug a seal, a koala, get treated for chlamydia.
Monday: Something mysteriously called “Remarkably Wild Kangaroo Island Tour” and then back to Adelaide at the end of the day.
Tuesday: Fly into Sydney, board a bus and head up to Hunter Valley. Wine tours!
Wednesday: More wine tours and one chocolatiers. Weep for me. Then we head over to Port Stephens.
Thursday: We tour the dunes (40 metre dunes? Weee!) and then a “MoonShadow” cruise where we have an excellent chance of seeing dolphins. Then head back to Sydney
Friday: City and Beaches tour. A workshop that afternoon and then the rest of the day is mine to bugger.
Saturday: Get on a plane at 10am, come home. Gain my day back. Arrive in LAX at 6am the same day. Toronto some 6+ hours later. Ugh.
But I think it’s going to be worth it.
Checking data plans and I’m gobsmacked. 75M data on the Rogers network costs $225. Consider that a good sized photo is around 1.5M, I’d burn through that in seconds. Looks like I’m sniffing out Starbucks or I’m unlocking my phone for a SIM card…
God I have to calm down!!