Friday, July 19, 2013

WHEN WE GO TO IKEA, I'M THE GUY WHO POKES AROUND EACH MOCKED-UP ROOM.  I run my hands across propped clothing in the closet and stop to look at myself in the mirror. I sit for a moment on the edge of the bed and wonder if I could live there. I pay no mind to price tags or finishes, but rather drag a wrist over the kitchen counter as I mindlessly gaze out the fake window. If I haven't visited in a while, I'm not a "skip the showroom" kinda guy. I don't shortcut to the As-Is, grab a meatball and go. I meander.

As a kid, I always liked playing house, or school, or store. If I played cops-and-robbers, I was always the detective pushing paper in the treehouse screaming "But where were you that night??!" I didn't care for running around and hopping fences. While my friends shot cap guns and got scraped knees, I radio'd clever tips and said things like "Johnson, get yer ass back here now!"

When I built with Lego I was a realist. Never spaceships and robots, but rather suburban homes with covetable sectional sofas and thoughtful landscaping. When a newly-added character needed an apartment, I built one over the garage like they did on Growing Pains. Sometimes a tornado would tear through the neighbourhood, forcing all the yellow people into a crawlspace while I took out some walls or opened a hole in the back of the house. But then they'd cheerfully install a set of sliding glass doors and maybe a pool. In my playtime, disasters were inevitable, but also a chance to remodel.

You have your fun, I'll have mine.

It might seem strange that we're doing Europe this way, and before we actually started traveling, I had different ideas about it too. In my mind, we'd land in one city, grab a croissant, hop on a train, hit Luxembourg for lunch and have dinner in the Swiss Alps. I thought we'd take advantage of the close-proximity of places and dart all over. Naively, I thought we'd see everything in these 12 weeks.

But as our trip began to lay itself out in front of us, I started to see how we travel. Immediately upon landing in Auckland, New Zealand, we discovered that we're not fast. We're not particularly organized. Perhaps I should be embarrassed about this, but I'm not: We like to sleep in. We're not sites-people or list-people or must-see-people. I won't speak for Jeff, but I'll tell you this: I'm wander 'round the showroom to see if I could live here-guy.

Early on it also became clear that spikes in the budget happen when we go from one place to another. Obviously transportation is a major cost, but also settling. The longer we stay in one place, the less money we tend to spend; we get into a groove and figure out the affordable approach to everything. If somewhere long enough, I can buy a bottle of olive oil and use up the whole thing. And so we were realistic when the time came to really start really planning Europe. We knew we'd have to choose a handful of hubs and hunker down in each. No lunches in Luxembourg.

So it's a highlight reel of nations. Now that we have the travel bug, I can't imagine we'll ever stop, so when we love a place (Bali! Greece! Bangkok!) we'll go back and see the rest of it. And knowing that eliminates the pressure to see every square inch this time around.

After two glorious weeks in Paris, we'll spend next week in Germany. It could've been Munich or Frankfurt or Düsseldorf, but a nation's capital is always a safe bet, so Berlin is where we'll spend our German-primer. We've rented another AirBnB and will settle, happily, into domestic life in another place. We'll wander around and eat schnitzel, I guess. We won't do everything, but who the ficken has time for that?


Visit Paul's newly relaunched website: PAULDOTEY.CA

LOCATION: Paris, France
DATE AND TIME: Friday, July 19, 2013 6:51PM Central European Time/Friday, July 19, 2013 12:51PM EST


  1. That paragraph about LEGO was incredible.

  2. I loved this. Totally my travel style too, but written so much better than I could have explained it.

  3. Great post, I have a similar travel approach. Actually the more I travel the less I worry about the "must-sees" and the more content I am to just wander around and experience a place. Really loving your blog, can't wait to hear about Berlin!