The last time my husband and I went to Europe in 2003, we took 23 days to go from London to Paris, on to Venice, Florence, Rome, and Athens. We kept going to Samos Island, to Izmir, Turkey, and finally Istanbul.
At the time I remember a lot of people being surprised at how far we were going, how many cities we were seeing, and kept referring to our adventure as a "once in a lifetime trip."
Next Thursday, we're on another adventure, this time to London for a few days, then a week in Paris.
I don't believe in once-in-a-lifetime travel. I may never go back to some of the places I've seen, but I'd like to think I will. Given the fact that we probably won't have kids, and my willingness to live with furniture and carpet I'd rather replace, we have the means to do it.
I do believe it's all about priorities. My husband and I bought an older house that needed fixing, and we've done most of what needed to be done. After that, we decided that instead of a Pottery Barn interior decorating job, we'd rather travel.
For those of our friends with kids -- I am always amazed at the sarcasm with which I hear "must be nice" when I say I'm going somewhere overseas. I don't say that to them when I hear they're pregnant with child #3. Although don't think for a minute that it doesn't pass through my head. At least the filter in my brain works.
As much as we'd like a family, we apparently can't have one. We decided instead of sitting around moping around about what we don't have, and instead concentrate on what we do have, and in our case it's freedom and a little extra play money.
So off we go to see some more of the world. We chose London because the last time we were there we only had a couple of days, and it was WAY cooler than I expected, and there was much more to see than the usual stuff. Heck, even the usual stuff is in plenty of supply. We also chose Paris because the last time we went we spent 3 nights and 4 days there, most of which was taken up with me getting bronchitis and feeling too ill to do more than walk directly to the Mona Lisa at the Louvre and back out again, taking a double decker bus tour to drive past a lot of major sites, and a trip up the Eiffel Tower. Paris deserves more than that. It deserves a minimum of a week sitting in cafe's, sipping cafe au laits (pronounced "caffay o'lay") and climbing the hills of Montmartre.
So many people think they can't afford it, but spend $200/night at a hotel in Aspen. For $800 you can fly to Europe, and if you're judicious about it, you can find a very nice hotel in the heart of Paris for less than $100 a night! Wine is cheaper than soda, a museum pass gets you into all sites (and their bathrooms!) for less than $50 for the whole week. Yes, it's money out the door, but it's less expensive than that car payment.
That last trip was like a sampler...I got to see plenty, but now I want to go back to old cities and new ones and really soak it in. For the REST of my life.