One of the things that people yearn to do when they enter retirement is to travel. Frequently, that means buying or renting an RV (I recall the glam vehicle one relative bought; privately, we referred to it as 'the superbus', and it was nothing in comparision to what's available now). We're going to do a little bit of that -- instead of going overseas (to France, natch), we're going to take a drive through the Northeast -- over to Pittsburg, up to Niagara Falls, down to the Finger Lakes wine area, and home again. Should be fun.
Yet I have to admit, I still want to go to France, to the point where my wife has said "Then go". She's perfectly okay with me taking a week or ten days and going to see some friends -- a close friend in Paris, as well as a new conversation partner in La Rochelle (which that partner refers to as 'the prettiest city in France') I'm thinking about it, but am relucant, for two reasons, each of which, I have to admit, is a little strange.
One is the food. I am, I suspect, the only person who has even gone to France and lost weight (going through security at Charles De Gaulle airport on the way home, I abruptly demonstrated what happens when they ask you to take off your belt, and you've lost about ten pounds). I just don't like most French food. I'm a very simple food person, and things that -- well, hell, let me just say 'don't look American' don't appeal to me. This is particularly strange when you realize that much of the quotidian French food is really basic - for example, hachis parmentier, which has a name that immediately sets me on edge; turns out, it's essentially shepherd's pie. Ditto Croque Monsieur, which many Francofreaks adore; its a ham and cheese sandwich. (Okay, I'm not a fan of ham-and-cheese even here, and French ham is usually too thickly cut for me, with hyper-gooey Gruyere -- but still: ham and cheese) So I intellectually acknowledge that French food is not inherently awful, but still: I have this atavistic no-not-for-me reaction to it. Last time, when I had the interesting experience at the airport, the only 'real food' I had was the night before departure, when a friend made a food run for me to McDo's -- and sat, amazed, as I wolfed it down. Its me, not them, but....
The other thing thats keeping me from going is that I don't want to think of myself who says Oh, yeah (elaborate yawn), I went to France, but only for a week. Visiting some friends, doncha know. I know, no one is EVER going to confuse me with Jay Gatsby, but still: casuallly tossing two thousand dollars (round trip, Dulles to Paris, Air France Premium Economy), plus another five hundred or so for hotel in Paris (La Rochelle, I'd be staying with my friend) -- I don't know, it just seems profligate to me. I despise the idea of 'we can afford it, so why not do it?' (Whats particularly weird is that if my WIFE wanted to do something similar by herself, I wouldn't think twice before saying that Of COURSE she should do it.)
So, no France for me this summer.