I love to plan. I love calendars and spread sheets; I love bullet points and color coordinating information. The greatest pleasure for me, as a compulsive planner, is making arrangements for a vacation. I have read articles by others who share my passion, some even claiming that the planning process is more pleasurable (and less stressful) than the vacation itself. I can definitely say I have been miserable on vacations that were a joy to arrange.
When I was 18, traveling meant back packing and couch surfing. That was before the fecal incontinence, the migraines, the arthritis. Now, every night away from home is a lesson on what I need to stay comfortable and happy. As hard as it is to prevent discomfort, it is even harder to treat. I cannot plan for everything, but I try. Most of the time that means being a homebody, but I haven't given up on adventure entirely. When spring comes, even the most adamant hermit needs to get out of hibernation and live a little. With a little planning, of course.
Spring IS coming. Mother Nature seems determined not to give us any hope, but an unlikely source flows: the IRS. Our piggy bank finally has a little pudge, and I have been excitedly planning how to empty it again.
I have spent weeks researching regional destinations, ultimately rejecting two other locations. After consulting with my partner, we decided to invite another couple and spent two more weeks texting back and forth with them about dates. I called the resort twice and the travel agent once before I was confident and made the reservation. After that I called back five more times, three times in one day, and I must have asked at least six different employees more than 70 questions. The only thing I didn't do was tell them how many pillows to put on the bed, and I would be lying if I said I wasn't fighting the urge to call them about it right now.
Herein lies one of the greatest pleasures of planning a vacation: the hospitality industry is the last bastion of customer service. I used to wilt at the thought of speaking to anyone behind a desk, or on the other end of a 1-800 number. But my first time booking a room with a luxury hotel taught me to enjoy the experience of asking for what I want. Especially in a digital world of instant feed back, a quality hotel will endeavor to earn every penny they pull from your piggy bank.
Though I do sometimes plan dream vacations for the exercise (and enjoyment), a real vacation does have a budget. The actual purpose of all the researching is to find the best my budget will allow. This year I have exceeded my own expectations. The Couples Spring Retreat for 2014 will be in Kohler, WI at the imminently luxurious American Club Resort.
Though I have not yet set foot on their property, I am already qualified to say they have impeccable customer service. Though my opinion is hardly as prestigious as that of Forbes and AAA, both of whom gave this resort and spa its highest honors. Needless to say, we are all giddy with excitement. I am a little sad there is almost nothing left to plan, but I am resting easy knowing this is one vacation that might just be more fun than the planning of it.