I planned my summer holiday way back in January. Since the hotel and airfare were paid for up front, I was confident this would be a perfect getaway. All I had to do was get there.

Last year’s solo trip to Barcelona surpassed the legal limit of how much fun one person can have on holiday. This year, I made a very strong effort to put any expectations out of my head to avoid any disappointment should this trip not be as fantastic as the last. For seven months, I counted the days like a kid waits for Christmas. I knew Barcelona would come. I knew I would have an incredible holiday and I knew having zero expectations would make the trip just as good as the last – if not better.

Well, my plan worked like a charm. This year, with my expectation meter set to zero, I got way more than I expected. I got the worst fucking vacation I’ve ever had.

It’s one thing to get a little ill while on holiday. I’ve traveled with an occasional cold, sinus infection, mild stomach bug, etc. You just kind of put it in the back of your head and make the best of it. Never in my life have I experienced most of my travel time feeling like a steaming pile of dog shit.

Aside from a horrible headache and gut-wrenching stomach cramps; I could hardly eat, was completely fatigued and had random projectile diarrhea every forty-five minutes. For days!

After the initial onset which lasted about three days, I had a couple of not-so-bad periods where I tried that “make the best of it” thing. Even ventured out to Sitges for a bit after chowing down a box of immodium. Sadly, even immodium couldn’t control my exploding ass. At one point, I crapped in my pants en route to el baño and because of that, I was terrified to get too far from my room. For two weeks, the farthest I ventured from the hotel was about a mile and that was to spend a day in the hospital hooked up to an IV getting pumped full of medication and fluids. Yeah, I was that sick.

My employer does not offer sick time and vacation. They just give you PTO (Personal Time Off) for any time. When I was hired, I was told I had ten days of PTO which was perfect as that was the exact amount of time I needed off. Two days before I left, I was told since I started my job in March, my PTO was prorated and I didn’t actually have enough time to take off so when I return to work, I have to put in ten-hour days for a week and a half to make up time.

Now, It would be one thing to make up time like that after an insanely wild trip and say, “Who cares? It was worth it!” But no, I’ll be making up time for laying in a fetal position shitting my brains out. To add a smidge of insult to injury, I had this last-minute notion to pamper myself so I upgraded to a Premium room the week before I left.

Yeah…nothing like shelling out an additional 400 euro to shit in a luxurious room with a view and a balcony (that I couldn’t see from the bathroom). Do I know how to travel or what?

The real highlight was hearing the couple next door screwing constantly. The common wall between the two rooms was, you guessed it, the bathroom. I don’t know what he was doing but she was quite vocal in expressing her level of enjoyment. It wasn’t exactly the sound of them having sex, it was the…well, let’s just say the word stamina comes to mind. Hours of operatic vocalizations while the headboard slammed against the wall in a percussive fashion. Of course I can’t really complain as I am confident they got their share of my frequent grunts and groans accompanied by the thunderous reverberation of my butt cheeks playing the toilet bowl like a giant tuba.

It wasn’t all bad. I did see a few people from last year and met a handful of new people. That was a treat. The last two days I had an strong appetite and socialized as best as I could. It’s kind of hard to be outgoing when you’re not feeling well. I tried to salvage the last fleeting moments of my holiday but, for the most part, it was pretty much a disaster and in all honesty, I’m really fucking pissed off at life right now – which is stupid. I can’t be angry at something I cannot control. It is what it is.

Shit happens. Yes, I just said that.

Tonight, I will arrive at my home, get into my shower, slip into my bed with my wonderful hubby who will wrap his arms around me, tell me he loves me and make it all melt away. Ray is awesome like that. I miss him terribly. Parker kitty will be there. We’ll all be safe and comfy together at home and for me, right now, that’s the perfect remedy.

I overheard someone say the plane had only been in service for nine days. I’m no expert in aviation so there’s no possible way I could know this but, the air in the cabin did have that new plane smell.

The plane really was quite fancy-schmansy. Passing through the first class cabin seemed like land of the pod people. The seats literally reclined into a private pod/bed! At 6’2″, I could only dream of such luxury.

This was my third trip to Barcelona. My second traveling solo. I went last summer by myself and had such a good time, I had to do it again.

IMG_3789Getting to Europe involved a series of flights. This was the long haul from Los Angeles to London. Fortunately, because of Ray, I scored a deluxe coach seat. More  space to recline with a ton of legroom. I was finally going to be able to be able to get a good night of sleep on an international flight. Or so I thought…

Right after they served dinner, I got my neck pillow thingie, put my seat back and got all blanketed up. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath…exhaled and at that exact moment, a fierce wave of nausea passed through me squeezing out cold, clammy sweat from every pore in my being. This was accompanied by two invisible hands reaching into my gut and wringing it out like a dishcloth. Just when I thought it couldn’t possibly get worse, I started to lose consciousness. I was sitting down, leaning back and yet, I was passing out!

Drenched in sweat, I put my head between my legs. The air valve over my seat was blowing on me. It felt so good, so cool. Have you ever been that sick? Where laying on a cold hard bathroom floor is the most comfortable thing in the world? Well, at least you’re at home, in your bathroom. I was on a fucking plane two hours into a nine-hour flight. I’m sure the elderly couple sitting next to me were wondering what the hell was going on.

“Don’t mind me. I just like looking at my shoes while I fly.”

I just kept praying, “Please don’t make me barf, please don’t make me barf.” Thankfully, I had taken a sleep aid before all this started and was able to fall asleep. In fact, I slept through the whole flight. I slept through the flight from London to Barcelona. I got to my hotel at 20:30 and was so tired I took off all my clothes and slithered into bed.

During all of this, I was nauseous, fatigued and had major stomach cramps. As the time went on, I found myself having to use the restroom more and more frequently. After getting to the hotel and passing out, I awoke at 3:00 AM while in the process of completely shitting myself, in and on the bed, running to the bathroom, and all over the toilet.

At least I didn’t puke.

While I was able to clean most of it up (room has hard floors), my luxurious hotel bed with crisp white sheets and down comforter didn’t quite clean up so well. I’m sure housekeeping has their eye on the freak in room 215.

By yesterday afternoon, I was a bit more stable. I slept for eighteen hours. Whatever it was knocked the…well, knocked the shit out of me. I went out for a little bit but was still pretty tired. Slept some more that afternoon. When I awoke, I made my way up to the rooftop bar/deck where I was greeted by some people I had met here last year. They talked me into having dinner with them. Even though I wasn’t quite 100 percent, it got me out.

This morning, I was up early. I needed to venture out in search of bottled water – lots of it. As I was walking along the quiet city streets, processing the ordeal I had just been through, it suddenly dawned on me…I’m in Barcelona!!

Let’s have that holiday, shall we?







20110913-112539.jpgThe kitty cat whimpered from her carry case as we drove along to drop her off at Goin’ to Grandma’s. I was a little concerned boarding her for three weeks but we’d done this last year and she handled it well. Still, I can’t help but worry for the well being of a pet. The dirt road was bumpy and before long, her whimpers got deeper and kind of throaty.

Then she puked.

The lady at the kennel was sympathetic and cleaned out the carrying case. We said goodbye to the kitty and headed out for our ninety minute drive to the airport. We’d been planning this trip to Germany since January. Three flights, two layovers and we should land in Berlin tomorrow at 4:00 – just in time for cocktails!

It’s hard to get away from work for three weeks. I really have to make an effort to let everything go. Last year, we went to Spain, France and Italy for three weeks. It was heaven. Ray and I were able to disconnect from everything.

I have discovered that Americans don’t take enough time off. Even if you can’t afford to go somewhere, you should get away from work and take time for yourself. I work with people who get annual notifications to take some of their vacation or they’ll lose it. I can’t imagine what that’s like. I’m always struggling to save vacation time because I take it so much.

So here I am, blogging at the airport just about to embark on an exciting journey. My plan is to blog and post images/videos as we go along as opposed to waiting until we get home. Stay tuned…