I highly recommend taking your birthday off from work if you can swing it. I write this from Boston after spending the weekend in Chicago with Alicia and Davide.
Chicago was cool - quality time with friends, good food, drinks, White Sox vs. Blue Jays at Comiskey, a little window-shopping, a bunch of episodes of West Wing season 7, and the puppy even finally stopping her violent barking at me. Yeah, we got rained on more than planned, but I'm so glad I went. Somehow taking time off at home doesn't seem nearly as relaxing as doing far more away from home. More photos here.
I'm now in Boston, which is a quick trip to see family, get my hair cut and do whatever else is possible in 50 hours. The best part though has been talking with my parents about our upcoming Morocco trip this summer. I'm looking forward to hanging with the cousins in Morocco, but the trip has also inspired lots of thinking about what else I could do while I'm in the general vicinity. I'll be wandering around Barcelona for a few days, but the future trips are enticing: hiking in Corsica, trekking around the Maritime Alps, being in Paris for the last stage of the Tour de France, or visiting my friend Bek in the Netherlands.
I'm finding, too, that the methods of transport intrigue me particularly. Flying has annoyed me more than usual lately, so the idea of getting to Corsica by boat and traveling to the Maritime Alps by train and then walking for a week or two to get to the Mediterranean is appealing.
I won't get to do any of that on this trip probably, but wanderlust is an intoxicating yet comforting feeling that I hadn't realized I missed.
For a few years, I planned and took one trip off the continent per year. I couldn't afford it after I returned from two plus months in Asia homeless, jobless and savings-less, but now that I'm not quite so poor...well, it may be a plan I should resurrect.