My best friend, Jennifer, and I had conversation a few weeks ago about our upcoming travel plans. Before I tell you about the conversation, I have to first warn you that we have recently gotten into the inexplicable habit of texting in hashtags. I can tell you exactly when this started, but I really have no idea why (it may or may not have been a wine inspired event…). Whatever the reason was, the habit stuck and our conversation went like this.
The packing that Jennifer is referring to is for a trip that has been in the making since we were about 12 years old and jammed into our uncle’s truck for a 2 day road trip to visit our cousin in Chicago. He had picked up a book on tape for the drive that resulted in both of us taking weekly trips to the library for the next 10 books in the series after we returned home. Crocodile on the Sandbanks was the book remains one of my all time favorites. The book tells the story of Amelia Peabody, an English spinster who chooses to travel the world after she inherits her father’s wealth in the late 1800s. The story leads her to EGYPT where she finds her great love and a new sense of purpose.
After nearly 15 years of traveling to Egypt with Amelia on her annual expeditions, we have booked our tickets for 8 days in Egypt!! We are beyond excited about this, as can be seen by the packing commentary above. That conversation started with this photo.
So, yes. It was a little early. But we’re so excited!! This leads us to my response. I am beyond excited to go to Egypt! I was not, however, even remotely enthusiastic about my pending trip to Florida.
Never mind the fact that the trip was a training for work piggy backed by a few days visiting my husband’s grandparents. (The training was voluntary, but I figured since Roland was signed up anyway I’d do it too to get the plane ticket paid for to be able to see his family). I don’t like the beach, the sun does not agree with my fair skin, I’ve been to Florida quite a few times before and I just wouldn’t go out of my way to go again at this point. All of this led up to me establishing one requirement to go on this trip.
The only thing I love as much as Amelia Peabody and Egypt, maybe slightly more even😁, is Harry Potter. I am totally oblivious to most things my generation obsesses over, but I am a true blue 90s baby in my total fan girl love of Harry Potter. If I was going to go to Florida, I had to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
I am really not a theme park person (rides make me sick), but my love of Harry Potter burns to the core. I thought it may boost my excitement for the trip and it did turn out to be the only part of the trip I was looking forward to, though my expectations were still not that high. My husband and our coworker agreed to go along, so we purchased our passes and planned a few days for after the training.
When we arrived in Orlando it was pouring down rain. Having been up since 4am to catch our flight, we picked up the rental car and headed straight to the hotel with plans for a nap. Roland and our coworker were revived over lunch and decided to use our bonus day at Universal for the afternoon (when we bought a two day park to park pass, they had a promotion for a third day free).
I agreed to drop them off and head back to the hotel as I was exhausted and not in a mood to spending hours walking in the rain. I drove them to the park and instructed them, under threat of death, they were not to visit the Harry Potter sections of the park without me.
As it turns out, dropping someone off at Universal is not an easy thing to do. We spoke to the parking attendant who recited very specific directions to the drop off location, involving several lefts and a U-turn, which we followed exactly and discovered were missing a few key details (I got yelled at by the next parking attendant within 50 feet of the first booth) I gave up and parked the car, deciding to go with them.
I am SO glad I did. Our co-worker picked Islands of Adventure first so we trudged on through the first section of the park (HP World is all the way in the back of both parks) until we rounded a corner and suddenly the Hogwarts Express was there! At the Hogsmeade Station!
I 100% geeked out at this point! Everything got exciting and the rain didn’t matter anymore. We bought a Chocolate Frog in Honeydukes. (You can see how drenched I was in this pic after only 20 minutes).
I am pumped to go back to Universal when it’s not raining and see Diagon Alley. I think I got a few good reminders out of this trip. 1) I need to remember that sometimes dreams are fulfilled in ways you don’t expect (like a theme park). 2) Any time you get a day off work it’s a blessing. 3) And lastly, I need to not take U.S. travel for granted. It may not be Egypt, but it can still be exciting and fun.