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the plan

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a travel agent

what to ask
a tour operator

And... we're off!

Four years. Well, we intended to go someplace much sooner, but life just seems to be running at a frantic pace lately. But the travel bug is back, and we are immersed in planning our next trip - this time to Egypt. I wanted to go back to Scotland - I could spend months there, just wandering the countryside.

However, marriage being a series of compromises and negotiations, we decided it was Mark's turn to choose our destination. After considering going to Rome ("while the monuments are still clean from the millennium celebration," he says), he chose Egypt. He had been to Egypt about twenty years ago, and he's been talking about going back for a while now, and wants to go before they start closing the monuments to tourists.

So, Egypt it is! Don't get the idea that just because he picked the destination that I'm not doing the planning! After so many years, we have clearly delineated the roles in vacation planning: he handles logistics (tickets, passports, health matters, etc) and I handle the itinerary (or lack of it) and the "what to see" part of the trip. I'm the serious planning type, and part of the fun for me is to plan things - lists and books and maps and the rest. I've started buying guidebooks and maps. I'm committed.

And I'm running out of bookshelf space.

That's normal actually. I've never met a book that I didn't like, and there are so many books about traveling to Egypt and Egyptian history that I've already accumulated a bookshelf worth of guides. You know, we're eventually going to have to move out of our house because we've run out of space for books. So, off to Amazon and Barnes and Noble and Powells and the guidebooks start showing up one or more a week.

I'm a believer in being well-educated before you travel somewhere. Oh, not an expert, but you should understand some of the history (if you're going to look at monuments or architecture), something about the culture, even some bits of the language if you're going to really enjoy your time in a new country. Otherwise, things are just buildings, or interesting streets, or - at least to me - less meaningful.

I don't want to walk around with my head in a guidebook to get dates or some interesting tidbit of information, or have to rely on a harried tour guide to give me the canned spiel. So, I tend to overload on books. I don't actually take them with me (or I'd need a team of sherpas!) but it's part of the fun of preparing for the trip


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