You know how long it takes to book a flight online these days? About 20 minutes.

Paris calling Sheila.

Paris calling Sheila.

So we’re all just about 20 minutes away from starting that trip that we’ve been dreaming about. What stops us?

Oh, it feels so irresponsible…I need to save money, I don’t deserve a trip, it’s not a convenient time, I don’t know where I’d stay. We can come up with a million reasons not to give ourselves that trip. But travel – it changes you. When I’m away, I can look back at my everyday life and make decisions without having to wrestle the time away from going to Whole Foods, cooking a meatloaf and answering email.

I’ll admit, I have a different outlook about these things than most people. I was heavily influenced by the fact that my mother died at age 47. All her life she talked about the trips she wanted to take – “after your daddy retires, after you kids are out of school, after I have grandchildren….” She never got to “after.”

I got up this morning and booked a trip to Paris in February. I’ve been thinking about that trip for a couple of months now. I was just in Paris for Christmas. February feels like such an indulgence. But it’s the time of the Paris Agricultural Salon, a week celebrating France’s  agricultural heritage (think cheese, foie gras and live cows, horses, sheep, goats, rabbits and pigs – an irresistable temptation in my book).

I love French cows. (Photo © Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons)

I love French cows. (Photo © Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons)

I’ve wanted to go for ages, and it only happens once a year.

Although I often stay with a friend in Paris, this time I’ve booked my own apartment (through Welcome2France, the people I write the newsletter for) for two weeks. I’ll spend lots of time with Donna, but also have many days and nights alone.

If you’re wondering how I get this much time off from work, let me remind you that I work for myself. But before that starts sounding too delicious, let me also remind you that – not having a regular job – I also don’t get paid when I go away. So I have to watch the budget; I’ve learned to travel on the cheap.

Is there a trip in your mind that’s calling you? Want a good reason to book it right now? Read the obits in the local newspaper; people younger than you are leaving this earth. Book that trip today, and figure out the details later.

So where are you going?