Plan B

November 2016

Sometimes the best laid plans fall through. Usually, that just takes some improvising when the weather goes bad or something is closed. But on occasion, the whole plan comes apart before you get started.

Even before I’d left for Norway last year, my friend Karimé and I had agreed to return to Argentina to visit Patagonia and Mendoza. For the past year, we’ve been planning the trip. It was a brilliant plan — expensive, logistically challenging, but sure to be a trip to remember.

Then the unexpected happened in September: Karimé got a new job.

She couldn’t go. And it really was her trip. It would be wrong to leave her behind. So, we decided to postpone until next October.

Which left me with nowhere to go. I thought about Japan, but November is too late to see the fall colors and I couldn’t get away any earlier. A friend suggested Iceland, but it’s really cold then and I was concerned that there wouldn’t be sufficient hours of daylight to enjoy it. I spent a long weekend researching various places, seeking some inspiration. At one point, I threatened to throw a dart at the world map and go there.

In the end, plan B was there all along. Like Argentina, a trip long postponed.

And then I had a mad thought.

They pestered me with questions. I didn’t crack.You see, every time I plan one of these trips, my friends take a great interest in where I’m going. My co-workers make welcome back signs in the language of the places I’ve visited — I wouldn’t vouch for some of their translations, though. And once I’m home, they’re impatient to see my pictures.

But this time, I didn’t tell them.

They didn’t like it. They pestered me with questions. I didn’t crack. There was talk of an office betting pool, but that was discouraged. On my last day, two of my friends were comparing pictures of my world map to see if any of the pins had changed. As I boarded the plane, the only people who knew where I was going were the airline and my parents.

But I’m going to tell you.

I’m off to complete something I’ve left undone. And if you’re reading this on the day the post has gone live, you’ll find me in Palenque on my way toward the Yucatan.

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