My friend J decided last year to celebrate her 60th birthday by going to Oaxaca with a good friend of hers. She left on Friday of last week. I love Oaxaca. The city is gorgeous, the food fantastic; granted, I haven't been there since 1988, but I'm sure it's still wonderful. And I was jealous. It's ugly, but I admit it.
Which got me to thinking last year, after she decided to do this, that I have a big birthday coming up. Oh, I know, not for a few years, but still, 50 is looming up and let's face it, when time is flying by as fast as it does now (shouldn't my niece still be in diapers and not turning 20?), 50 will be here by the time I sneeze. So what should I do for my fiftieth? A coworker jumped out of plane. No way! NO WAY! I did the half-marathon for my 45th, and I don't want to tackle a full marathon. I decided that since I enjoy traveling, I wanted to go some place, some place I'd not been.
Now, gentle readers, you know I've been lucky enough to travel quite a bit abroad and have been to some out-of-the-way places, and I loved that. But I decided to stick a little closer to home for this trip. Which left quite a bit of the ol' USA open for contemplation as the Place To Go. And even though I still want to take that cruise to Hawaii with Mom, that's really a trip for her, not me. For my fiftieth, I want to go somewhere where I can do the things I love to do. After all, I'll be the birthday girl! So ever since I decided upon This Plan, I've been pondering: where to go? And I have decided upon two choices thus far.
Yosemite Park. It's gorgeous. I love to hike and be outdoors. The lodge is spectacular. The Ahwahnee Hotel even more so. But I couldn't bring the dogs. (I could substitute renting a cabin in Tahoe or somewhere for some hiking with the dogs instead, and that's definitely a sub-option still on the table.)
Cape Cod. I've always wanted to go there. I know it won't look like the Cape Cod of the Asey Mayo mysteries of the 1930s, but I can live with that. And this is once place I think I'd rather do off season, when there are less tourists, since I'd rather be hiking and birding than sunbathing. My sister and her husband have friends who moved up there a few years ago, so maybe they might ask them to look around for a nice rental that they'd stay at themselves, and that's pet friendly. And it's far more likely that someone from my family would drive up to Cape Cod to celebrate with me than for them to come out here (I'm still waiting for that to happen and it's been over 23 years, so I'm not holding my breath even though some of my friends and coworkers think my family is fictional).
With The Big Event still several years off, I have plenty of time to save money (barring veterinary disasters) and to make reservations (I think I'd have to make them at least 2 years in advance to get the Ahwahnee at Yosemite), so starting to plan now is essential. But the biggest essential is this: how to pay for it.
I decided to start my own little modified Christmas Club for myself. Sadly, money in my savings seems to get soaked up paying off the vet bills on my credit card, so I need a separate avenue for money stashing. I was remembering how, 27 years ago, when I wanted to go on my field school abroad, I knew I couldn't ask the folks to fund it, so I put aside as much of my paycheck from the bookstore as I could, and before I knew it, I had the $600 for the airfare in a tidy little stack of bills in an envelope. So why not try that again? And the it hit me--five for fifty.
I'm going to try and set aside any five dollar bills for my vacation. Not in my savings, where it will get used to pay off a bill. And not in an envelope under my bed, either. And not every week, because frankly, I have too many unexpected expenses that arise that might preclude a weekly sum (yes, unexpected $300 scheduled maintenance for Mr. Knightley, I'm looking at you here!).
So there you have it, my Five for Fifty campaign. I'm hoping to go somewhere nice, eat a lot of wonderful food, have a lot of fun outside hiking and birding, and inside, reading and just relaxing, and seeing new places. Want to come?