Monday, September 23, 2019

What I Read on my European Vacation

This summer I spent a month in Europe with my family. We moved around too much for me to officially use summer as a verb, but it still felt luxurious and escapist to the nth degree. The trip originally began as a music tour, the first and last dates booked almost a year in advance (that's how you have to do it when you tour abroad). I knew I had a month of shows to fill between a starting festival in Scotland and an ending festival in Switzerland ... and I started working (I do all this myself!) to fill in the dates.

That's when it became clear that my dad would not survive the year.

I stopped booking shows. I left the two bookend dates both because I had contracts and because I had hope, but I didn't fill in the rest of the dates. When Dad died in June, I still had these shows on the calendar, but I didn't have much of a good reason to leave the family for a month and go to Europe alone for only two shows.

So we cashed in five years of Delta and Amex points and brought the entire family along for the adventure. We even paid-it-forward a bit by buying a plane ticket for my cousin, who had posted about her longing to see Europe. I figured my dad would have wanted an adventure for his niece as well, and I really needed to feel some connection to the rest of my family at a time when this only child had just lost both her parents.

I miss that time in Europe.

It's a weird and wonderful thing -- when you have everyone you love within inches of you. You can turn off your phone. You can completely disconnect. My previous three years of panic attacks whenever the phone rang were over. I'd already received the two awful calls. The diagnoses, the long illnesses, the nasty ends and the exhalation of relief when it was over. Any phone call or email I missed this time merely meant that I'd missed a job or audition (I did -- I missed many, but oh well), and not a family emergency.

There was so much quiet. There were so many castles. I read nine novels and multiple travel books. Because we traveled with the kids, and because we walked all day, we were home early and tired. Rather than scrolling the ol' social media, I opted to get out my Kindle (Kindle paperwhite for travel is everything -- any book you want in an instant) and I read. I didn't read anything deep. My favorite genre is anything with the Eiffel Tower on the cover, no matter how dumb or difficult it looks. I will read it.

Wee Graham also read a ton. We subscribed to Epic! while we were there (and still do because I haven't canceled my free trial)so he had loads of books downloaded to his tablet as well. He read books ranging from Raucous Royals to Loch Ness Mysteries and shared all his acquired tidbits of trivia on our tourist travels. 

So here's the list of books I read while on my escapist trip abroad, not counting the typical Rick Steves Paris, etc. I'm in a 2019 kind of mood where basically all I want to read are books written by women, but I do make occasional exceptions as you can see.

P.S. from Paris by Marc Levy
Ghosted by Rosie Walsh
Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Reid Jenkins
I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella
Bizarre London by David Long
One Day in December by Josie Silver
Rosie's Traveling Tea Shop by Rebecca Raisin
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms

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