I have been offered cocaine in a complete stranger’s New York City apartment. I have lost $350 in a single poker hand in Vegas. I’ve gorged myself on gelato in three different Milan shops in a span of ninety minutes, and suffered my worst sunburn ever at a topless beach in Cyprus (and you’d better believe I was topless).1 So, what do all these travel experiences have in common? They all happened Pre-D.
Before I met Denise, I could pick up and leave town whenever the mood (or my bookie’s enforcer) struck me. Back then, I always assumed that once I found myself a girl we’d likely travel even more often, and to more exciting locales. It’s been three years now, and here’s where we’ve gone in the interim: Boston. DC. Buffalo. Vermont. Nice places all of them,2 but hardly what I had in mind.
It’s not because Denise doesn’t like to travel. She does. Nor does it have anything to do with the weak U.S. dollar or the high price of gas in recent years. Nope, the reason we’ve rarely traveled, and the reason we’ve yet to trek more than 400 miles from home together, comes down to one little thing:
She owns a dog.
Never mind that Sonya is probably the best dog I’ve ever known (which in itself is something, considering the dozen seeing-eye dogs my parents have raised). She’s sweet, gentle, and remarkably patient unless a squirrel is involved. But because she was rescued from the streets of Harlem, Denise is understandably reluctant to subject her to another bout of the kennel. Having Sonya stay with friends or family — or vice versa — can be tough to schedule, and hiring a trustworthy dog sitter or dog looker-inner-onner can get expensive. Thus, most of the time, we pick a spot we can drive to and we bring Sonya with us.
With enough time to plan there is always a way, so I know that eventually we’ll travel to faraway lands like Paris or Prague or Perth. But what I miss most about my Pre-D days are the short trips to nearaway lands where bringing a dog is difficult: a spur-of-the-moment weekend jaunt to Chicago; a last-minute, discount flight to London; accepting a co-worker’s offer to use their time share in Florida for a few days. I haven’t yet made these specific trips, but I’d love to be able to.
Maybe some day it’ll happen. Maybe we’ll find someone who’s always willing to watch Sonya at a moment’s notice. But until then, you won’t hear me complaining. Instead, I’ll just look at this face...
...and dream of where the future can take us.
1 To clarify, I was topless at both the beach and the gelaterias.
2 Yes, even Buffalo.