I worked for a pension administration company that was sold to another company. As part of the sale, those employees who had worked so many years by a particular date were entitled to receive $5,000. I just happened to be one of those employees.
Most of the people who received the money invested it into their futures. I decided to invest mine in the future as well – just not the same kind of future. I wanted to see something of the world! I wanted to gain that polish that world-travelers seem to have! So, I tucked that money away safely for that magical day when I could take a vacation.
I had retired from the pension administration company in May of 2012 and Dad passed away in June of that year. After the funeral was over and all the notes had been written. I did some serious thinking about what I wanted to do with the money I had stashed away. I had always wanted to visit Scotland, but I do better if I go somewhere specific. The Giant’s Causeway fascinated me with its sculpted columns that lead into the sea. Since the Giant’s Causeway is in Ireland, that was where I needed to go.
I asked around to see if anyone could go with me, but none of my friends had $5,000 laying around! I checked the tours on-line and found some really nice ones but none of them seemed just right. I called a travel agency in the area and, while they had some tours that included the Giant’s Causeway, they didn’t stay as long as I wanted to stay, and they visited places that I wasn’t interested in seeing. (Talk about being picky!)
I ended up asking the travel agency to book my flight to Ireland as well as my return and I would stay in Bed and Breakfasts while I was over there. I decided that I could stay in three different areas, spending two nights in each area. I went on-line and got some books on Ireland and decided that I wanted to fly from Great Bend, Kansas and I did NOT want to fly out of New York! New York scares me. There are too many people moving too quickly for my brain! I also decided that I wanted to fly into Belfast International Airport (that sounded like an airport that could receive planes from the United States).
The travel agency was able to meet my demands and told me that, as part of the deal, I could stay in a hotel in Belfast two nights and rent a car! Being incredibly stupid about what I was about to do, I agreed to the project. I told them that I needed an automatic transmission because stick shift cars are smarter than I am and I needed to be in control (an amazing illusion, as I was to find out).
I made reservations at the Bed and Breakfasts and got ready to go in August. I planned on being gone 12 days so decided to board Lizzie and Jessie. They were not excited but, since Jessie likes to sneak outside and not come back in, I thought it would be safer for them and less worry for me. I took them to the vet’s on the 15th and organized my suitcases for the trip.
Everything I read indicated that I needed to be at the airport at least an hour ahead of time so I planned on getting to the airport in Great Bend by 5:00 because the plane left at 6:00. This meant that I needed to get up at 3:00. It is not easy reaching my high standard of beauty. Actually, it isn’t easy getting my brain to be fully functioning in the morning!
I got to the airport at a quarter to 5:00 to discover that our airport didn’t open until 5:00. I was the only passenger there so had a good time talking to the people who worked there. I ended up buying a bottle of water to take with me. The bottle of water I had brought from home might contain some dangerous chemical, so I had to leave it behind.
At a quarter to 6:00, I walked through the scanner and outside to an adventure. It was so exciting! It was like being in a super-charged limo since I was the only one there. Almost like having a chartered plane!