Sleeping Around: A Year’s Reckoning

Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, July 2011


Felixstowe Suffolk UK

A year ago today, Clive and I were stranded with thousands of other passengers at New York’s Kennedy Airport, snowed in en route from the U.S. to Paris.

After an uncomfortable overnight funded by Air France at an airport hotel, followed by a convoluted series of shuttle buses and flights from LaGuardia to Washington National Airport and another shuttle to Dulles International, we made it to our Paris sanctuary just in time for New Year’s Eve.

In one way, it seems unfathomable that tomorrow is, once again, New Year’s Eve. We’ll soon be into 2012. In another way, when I reflect on our activities and movements of the past year, I can only sigh with a strange mix of relief, satisfaction, and hope that the new year will be less hectic. More specifically, I can’t imagine another year like 2011, with so many nights spent in so many different places or, as Clive says, with so much sleeping around.

A Look at the Calendar

Clive with his grandchildren, Australia, October 2011

Thanks to Clive, we maintain detailed master trip calendars, and I’ve always kept daily journals and travel diaries. Maybe it’s my mathematics background and/or my general love of numbers, but when I’m pondering something I often find it helpful to first simply ‘look at the facts’ — which, in the context of sleeping around, led me to review our 2011 calendars and diaries and do some adding-up.

A few highlights and/or lowlights based on where we spent our nights:

  Number of nights in a Felixstowe hotel:  6

  Number of nights at Felixstowe Rental Palace:  58

  Number of nights in our new place (counting tomorrow):  181

      (number of nights on an airbed:  163)

      (number of nights on blissful new bed I don’t want to get out of every morning:  18)

  Total nights in Felixstowe:  245

  Number of nights in Australia:  65

  Number of nights in New Jersey:  15

     (number of nights lost to hurricane:  5)

  Number of nights in Paris:  15

  Number of overnights on airplanes:  8

  Number of nights in Penzance/Isles of Scilly:  11

  Number of nights in London:  6

So What? A Brief  Assessment as the Sun Sets on 2011

Sunset over Felixstowe, December 2011

Most of our 2011 sleeping around was for one of two reasons: we moved from Sydney to Felixstowe, and we visited immediate family in Australia and the U.S.

Completing our overseas move and moving forward with our new adventure has to be at the top of my list for what we accomplished this year. We’ve made good progress with our renovations. As much as we want to travel and explore new places, especially now that we’re based in Europe, 2011 just wasn’t the year for it. Nor was it the year to spend more time in Paris, one of my longstanding personal dreams and goals. We did discover one fabulous new location, the Isles of Scilly, and squeezed in a few wonderful days in London.

We feel blessed with our new life in Felixstowe, which I’ve written about on this blog, particularly in ’15 Things I Love about Felixstowe’ and the ‘Top Ten Tapestry’ posts here and here. We’re getting better at travelling light, including going to Paris with only a backpack, which was definitely a 2011 thrill for me. Family highlights included doing a fund-raising walk with Clive’s daughter in April, being present for his granddaughter’s first birthday in October, and having my son with us  over Christmas.

Where to for the New Year?

St Mary's, Isles of Scilly, September 2011

No matter the motivation for one’s travels, frequent overseas trips and long-haul flights come with a certain weariness, despite all best efforts to manage jet lag.  

My word for 2011 was ‘settle’, but the reality of our life this past year was such that we experienced an almost chronic jet lag. We’ve begun to look at our family and travel plans across the whole of 2012, with the objective of giving our bodies and minds a better chance to appreciate our time with loved ones and regroup between trips. We still have much to do in our apartment, and I’m still considering what the right word might be to capture our 2012 goals.

Oxford St Christmas lights, London, November 2011

More to come! In the meantime, cheers and Happy New Year to all.

16 Responses

  1. What a fun way to share your past year! May your2012 be at least as fun… and find you more in Paris!

  2. Very interesting summing up of the year! I hope 2012 will bring the stability you were looking for last year.

  3. Thanks, Paris Paul — more time in Paris is without question high on our list for 2012!

    Fraussie, appreciate your wishes — cheers and all the best for the new year.

  4. Very impressed that you’ve kept such good records about your travels! Wish I had; sometimes it all seems a blur. Wishing you and yours a wonderful 2012, full of joy and possibility!

  5. Thank you, Tara, and all the best to you as well!

    Cheers and happy travels with your own busy schedule — and especially good luck with your upcoming move in Amsterdam 🙂

  6. Happy New Year, Carolyn & Clive!!
    Oh my goodness; you two get around! Ah, that cheeky Clive, “sleeping around” :), but, for the cause of family and travel, of course.
    Impressive numbers! You make for one efficient accountant.

    Wishing you all the best in 2012, including return(s) to Paris and best of health to your loved ones. How beautiful to see Clive’s grandchildren around him. Very endearing.

    Cheers back to ya! xox

  7. xpat, Happy New Year! and thank you for taking the photo of Clive and me at the Luxembourg Garden 🙂

    Cheers and hope to see you à Paris in 2012.

  8. Happy New Year Carolyn and Clive. May you have many more!

    Martha

  9. Thanks, Martha B and wishing you and John a happy and healthy 2012 in New England or wherever your travels may take you!

  10. Great link to the NYT article on IBM. It will be a great article to use during the first class in both my Tech Writing and Business Writing courses that begin next week. I wish we could get home delivery of the NYT more days than just on Sunday. Happy New Year to you both.

  11. Thanks, Eleanor — it’s helpful that WordPress makes it easy to include my Twitter comments/tweets on this blog.

    Cheers and happy 2012!

  12. What a great summation of a decidely busy year in transistion! I wandered over from Twitter and enjoyed your posts so much I’m off to add you to my blog list. Despite a hectic year sleeping hither and yon, I’d say you really did achieve ‘settle’ in the best sense of the word. Here’s to (slightly less) sleeping around in 2012!

  13. Linda, welcome and thanks for your comment! So pleased to ‘meet’ you and discover your blog as well. Look forward to sharing our further adventures in travel and expat life.

    Cheers and all the best to you and your family for 2012.

  14. That *is* an enlightening way to assess the year past. I could look and calculate our number of nights on an airbed — we would be at something like 2 months or so, but nothing equal to yours!

    And yes that cheeky Clive, “sleeping around . . .”

    no shame, he!!! : )

  15. Hello Kim B. — yes that’s my British hubby and his self-proclaimed ‘warped’ sense of humour!

    Hope your own Parisian home/settling-in adventures are all going well (or maybe complete by now!?),

    Take care and cheers.

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