Ten days ago, Lief and I escorted young Jackson to the Panama City airport, signed him in as an Unaccompanied Minor, walked him through Immigration, and sent him off, with his United escort, to Baltimore, for a summer visit with his grandmother.
The 10 days since have been spent frantically writing, editing, preparing, planning, and trying to work ahead.
For tomorrow we commence our first vacation in five years.
In the five years since we moved from Paris to Panama City to launch the Live and Invest Overseas business, we’ve been nose to the grindstone. We’ve traveled, sure, often, and we’ve even attempted a few holidays. We’ve yet, though, in these five years, to take a trip that wasn’t cut short because we decided we’d better get back to the office sooner than planned or to enjoy a vacation that included actual vacation days.
Now we’re serious. We’ve asked everyone in the office to lose our e-mail and skype addresses, at least for a while.
Tomorrow we fly to Italy. From there we’ll travel to Turkey, Greece, Spain, France, and, finally, to Kenya, to spend a few days at the former home of Karen Blixen and then a few more days on safari. Our answer to the Grand Tour.
In total, it’s a month of travel.
I may be an American abroad, but I’m still an American, and four weeks of vacation at one go is a tough idea for us Americans to get our heads around.
I first encountered the idea of an extended time away from the office…a real, true break from the routine you practice the rest of the year…when we moved to France. We relocated from Waterford to Paris in June. In July, our neighbors…indeed, the whole of the city, it seemed…decamped. Signs on shop windows read (in French): Closed For Vacation–See You In September…
How could these folks afford to be away from their businesses for weeks, even up to two months at a time, we wondered.
Our second summer in Paris, though, we began to get into the swing of this cycle, and by the time we left Paris, a few years later, we’d come to look forward to it. French schools let out late June. July 1, families close up their apartments and their businesses and head to the beach…or the country…or abroad. They make their way back to Paris by Sept. 1 for le rentree, literally, “the return”…to school…to work…to life. They came back tanned and relaxed, ready to face another year.
We haven’t posted signs on our office doors, but Lief and I, this year, are embracing the French approach to summer vacation. We’re taking one.
We’ll be in touch from the road. Lief intends to scout property investing opportunities in Turkey, Greece, Spain, and France, and we hope to have adventures and discoveries aplenty to report from every port where we intend to call. But you won’t hear from us regularly.
Instead, starting tomorrow, you’ll hear from old friend and correspondent Lynn Mulvihill, who has kindly agreed to take the lead in these daily dispatches until our return to Panama in August. Lynn will write to you from her home in Waterford, Ireland. She’ll write to you of Ireland, of course, but, with the help of other correspondents around the globe–including Paul Terhorst, Lee Harrison, Lucy Culpepper, Wendy Justice, and David Sexton–she’ll also keep you connected with the world well beyond the Emerald Isle.
I’ll be in touch as often as I can over the coming month. Meantime, enjoy your summer.
A le rentree!