I’ve had yet another twist in the plot of my 2015 travel plans. As I’ve mentioned before, #taxpocalyse in January really put a damper on my travel plans, knocking the conference in Paris in July off the table, and making Egypt and London planned trips unlikely. I did manage to get to London few weeks ago, and was hoping I could just about manage to get to Egypt for one of my closest cousins’ weddings. She’s always been the sort we knew would definitely get married, and since we were teenagers had always talked about me being there. Not going didn’t feel like an option.
Enter cultural differences. In America, we know the date of the wedding a year, sometimes two, in advance. Egypt works a little differently. In March, I looked at ticket prices to Cairo in August, and calculated that even despite my financial setbacks of earlier in the year, I had been aggressive enough in my saving that I could juuuust about swing it. I asked for the time off, got approved, and was ready to book. The day I was going to hit “purchase”, my cousin in the nick of time told me to hold off buying the ticket because they were thinking of changing the date. So I waited. And waited. And waited. Three months passed by and they decided after what I’m assuming was a good about of back and forth with caterers, hotels, etc, to go with the initial dates. Ticket prices had gone up quite a fair bit from what they were in March, if I was being financially responsible I should have bowed out then, but according to my savings account, I could still just about make it happen. I had decided that I was still going to go. It was so important for me to find a way.
The day I was planning to buy the ticket part deux, as I literally had the ticket site up on my laptop and ready to pull the trigger, my dad called me to say that they had changed the date, moving the wedding two weeks earlier than the original date in August. I looked up tickets yet another time to find that they were nearly double the initial price. At that point I had to officially bow out, and sadly say that I couldn’t go. I was completely torn up about it, but I just couldn’t rationalize it financially any longer.
While I was in London (for a week) the bride’s younger brother decided to come for a 6-week trip to Cape Cod to stay with my family, booked the ticket, and arrived on our doorstep. Amazingly fun, but it did make me realize that we simply work on different wavelengths, and even if I bought a ticket to Cairo for the exorbitant price and said to heck with it, I still couldn’t guarantee that the wedding date wouldn’t change on a whim again between now and August.
I was really really sad and frustrated about it, but I guess that is part of the package you get for the beauty of coming from a multi-cultural family. Sometimes the cultures clash. We do things one way, and my family in Egypt do it an entirely other way, which in this case, was totally at odds with what I needed to do personally. On my budget, the way I can travel is by scouring travel sites, playing with dates, frequent flyer miles, and by booking the perfect number of months in advance to get the best price possible. This time, I just couldn’t do it their way.
My cousin isn’t going to get married again (hopefully), and I am not going to be there. I don’t think that my family thought that by playing with the dates so much, it was increasingly ensuring that I wouldn’t be able to go, but that’s exactly what ended up happening. Although I know that I can’t afford it, and I did try and it’s not my fault that I can’t, I’m still not over the disappointment. Travel in many ways is a selfish experience, but in this case, I feel like I let my cousin down. The downside to the international travel is when there are people you love across continents, and the distance proves to great for you to be there for their moments.