A Trip with a Difference

My first trip to Paris, age 25 (a few years ago)

My first trip to Paris, age 25 (a few years ago)


Clive and I are in trip mode once again, heading off next week to visit family in England and the U.S. and to spend some ‘just us’ time in Paris.

Earlier this year, I wrote a Passion for Travel series, in which I described a number of our travel tips and techniques, beginning with a master trip calendar and ending with coming home.

On our upcoming trip, for the first time ever, we’ll be spending a majority of our time – 56.76%, to be exact, or 42 of 74 nights — in Paris.

To put it mildly, I’m excited about this.

We’ll have eight days in Paris at each end of the trip, and a full 26 nights there in the middle. This will be the longest continuous time I’ll ever have spent in Paris. We’ve also planned about two weeks each in England and the U.S.

Leaving Sydney

Long Way 3

How did life get to be so complicated? I know the issues of Family Globalisation and the conflicting emotions of being an ex-pat are experienced by thousands the world over, including many readers of this blog.

I feel so lucky to have both Sydney and Paris in my life. There are so many things I love about each city.  This winter in Sydney was beautiful – sunny and sparkling – although we were stressed for much of it because both of our mothers were in and out of hospital with serious health issues.

We have realised that in the current phase of our lives, our first priority is to travel for family. Then, within parameters such as birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, we plan as much ‘just us’ time as we feel comfortable doing. It’s always tricky, balancing the expectations of family spread across three continents; our genuine desire to see each of them as often as possible; and our wish to spend some couple time whilst away.

No choice is guilt-free or stress-free.  On this trip, we’ll be with Clive’s father for his 90th birthday in England and my mother and son for Thanksgiving in the U.S. Juggling is always required and this time we built our itinerary around these two events.

Airline Surveys and Preferences carefree flight

Thanks to the global economic downturn and airline competition, we found excellent fares between Sydney and Paris on Singapore Airlines. Singapore is one of our absolute favourites (for more detail, see ‘A Passion for Travel, Part 8: Top Ten In-Flight Insights’).

We’re flying American Airlines, a Qantas One World partner, between Paris and New York, to visit my family in the U.S. It’s not a favourite airline but it’s reputable, the price was amazingly low since we booked well in advance, and we get Qantas frequent flyer points.

As reported in an ‘Economist’ article on April 6, 2009, airlines from Asia and the Pacific region were rated highest in an annual survey of global airlines in which 16 million travellers from over 95 countries participated. Number one was Cathay Pacific, followed by Singapore Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Qantas, Etihad Airways, Air New Zealand, Malaysia Airlines, and Thai Airways.

Seatguru.com, a U.S.-based site we use for checking seat assignments (thanks to my son and Kim B. who both recommended this!) also conducted a survey of 1,600 flyers, published June 11, 2009. Seatguru’s survey respondents said major U.S. carriers serve the worst food and cited United, American, and US Airways as having the least comfortable economy-class seats and the rudest flight attendants. They also rated legroom very important, as it is to me and Clive.

For this trip, we’re trusting that since we’re flying Singapore Airlines all the way, we won’t have a repeat of ‘Asia 101: How Not to Get to Paris,’ which happened last September when we tried a Qantas / Air France combination and ended up taking 42 hours to get to Paris via Beijing. As much as I love visiting Beijing, I do not recommend it as a transit stop between Sydney and Paris.

What I Really Want to Do

Open Book

I’m hoping that, in addition to our upcoming time in Paris being a holiday and the longest time we’ve ever spent away without family obligations, it will also be a time in which I can work on a writing project that’s close to my heart.

I know some of this blog’s readers are also keen writers, and I have shared some of my thoughts about writing in ‘Writing? You Need a Job’. I’ve begun working on a personal project related to times I’ve spent in Paris, and am looking forward to continuing this work in the weeks we spend there.

Speaking of writing, sometime while we’re away, I’m going to try to persuade Clive to write a guest post on a word that is avoided by many Americans but is in common usage around the rest of the world. Stay tuned.

I also hope to see some of my Paris blogger friends in person while we’re there.  I’ll be posting more from Paris soon.

Cheers and happy travels to everyone who may be taking a trip in the near future.

Airport Books

Related posts:
  A Passion for Travel – Series (All posts, Parts 1-11)
Hungry Heart: Counting the Days in Paris

7 Responses

  1. wow off again! How exciting to be spending all that time in Paris, you will have a wonderful time…I miss it.

    I will have to watch out for Clive’s guest post, very intriguing!!

  2. This is great news! I’m happy you’ll have so much time here (and promise not to intrude TOO much). It’s fantastic too that you’ll be able to celebrate Clive’s father’s 90th, and Thanksgiving with your family. I keep thinking about going home for Thanksgiving myself since Christmas is prohibitively expensive.

    Looooove the photo of you from last week in Paris (you haven’t aged a day).

    And great tease re Clive’s hopefully upcoming guest post. You’ve got me curious about the word!!!! Will have to keep brainstorming.

  3. Just returned to Paris on American Airlines and it was just awful. The seats were the worst ever. I told my husband that I don’t ever want to use AA again. They always have the cheapest prices but the oldest planes.

  4. I’m going to be in the Atlanta area for Thanksgiving myself. I’m assuming you’ll be around D.C….I think I remember that’s where your son lives. We’ve got to meet up somewhere sometime soon. Maybe I could hop over to Paris when you all have your next gathering of bloggers.

    I’ve tried to put together an email to you four times now so I finally decided to just leave an abbreviated version in the comment section so you know I’m here. Sorry to be such a comment slacker. I always enjoy yours to me and love all the tips you have in your posts. I tend to think…I’ll get back to yours to comment after another read through and then the moment (days) pass. Thanks for all the travel tips you put out there…even though I consider myself fairly well traveled, I always, always, learn something new.

  5. Hi Carolyn,
    It is so nice to be catching up to you. We have all been busy as bees.
    Yeah !! Back to Paris !!! I’ll have the chance to meet you and Clive and get to know you in person. I missed out so much last April but life is giving me a second chance.

    I wish I could just go off and spend time with family like you will do.But the problem is ehum.. family. I do a lot of work for my elder FIL here in France. I do need to go back & see my family in the US in the coming years.It will be my hubby’s turn to look over things.

    Take care & happy planning.

  6. Hope you made it out of Sydney before the dust storm wreaked havoc with the flights!

  7. Anne, yes it is wonderful to be here again as I know you now understand yourself! 🙂

    Kim, you are so sweet and we hope to see you and the gang in the not too distant future.

    Linda, eek re American Airlines! Our fares were also too low to pass up.

    Elizabeth, hi there! 🙂 No worries re comments but lovely to hear from you and I always enjoy your blog.

    Barb, your comment about family and family is so true. You do such a wonderful job caring for your FIL in France.

    Cheers all and I am still hoping Clive will wrote a guest post on the mysterious word.

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