“Surprise!” said Bill as he held out an envelope for Kat to open. They were seated at a table for two in their favourite restaurant, the one they saved for special occasions. Candlelight flickered along with Bill’s eyes. Kat was confused and a little suspicious. It wasn’t a special occasion and she couldn’t understand why Bill had booked the romantic date or why she was receiving a gift. Bill looked so happy though, so she took the envelope from his hands.
Inside she found a birthday card. Her (significant) birthday wasn’t for another two months. Inside the card was an even bigger surprise… 2 tickets to India in two months’ time, just in time to celebrate her birthday over there. It was the trip of a lifetime, and it must have cost a fortune.
Kat was gobsmacked. Bill was grinning from ear to ear. “I know you’ve always wanted to see the Taj Mahal. You’ve had that calendar with the photo of it on the wall since 2012. You’ve got your special birthday coming up, and I didn’t want to buy you just more stuff.” Bill had another motive as well. He was sure that seeing the world, especially a country where people made do with very little, might provide Kat with some much-needed perspective on her own lifestyle.
Kat was so excited she even forgave him the jab about “just more stuff”. Her mind started racing. She couldn’t wait to get home and start writing her list. In fact, why wait? She grabbed a paper napkin and a fished a pen out of her bag to compile her list right then and there. “I’m on a winner”, thought Bill.
Kat’s list included:
- a new dress (she was definitely going to celebrate her birthday in style)
- new shoes to go with the dress
- walking shoes
As soon as she got home, Kat went to the travel section of her bookcase and dusted off her 2011 edition of Lonely Planet Discover India for some inspiration and guidance. But it didn’t take long for her to add “new guidebook” to her shopping list. Bill tried to dissuade her. “The Taj Mahal won’t have changed since 2011”, he said.
“But the shops, restaurants and hotels will”, Kat countered.
“It’s an all-inclusive tour. You won’t need to find hotels and restaurants.” But Kat wasn’t listening.
She was digging at the back of the hall cupboard, looking for her collection of National Geographic magazines. Lucky, she hadn’t let Bill toss them. She knew they’d come in handy. She soon found one box and flicked through looking for the edition on elephants in Jaipur. She couldn’t find it, but there was one about elephants in Kenya. Oh well, it’ll be somewhere. Bill was silent, hoping she didn’t find out that he had indeed tossed a box of National Geographics when she’d been at Kylie’s one day.
Besides, Bill was supposed to be looking for their passports. He was pretty sure they were supposed to be in the top drawer of the filing cabinet, but they weren’t. In fact, he hadn’t seen them since they went on that Pacific cruise. Maybe they were with the brochures and souvenirs they’d brought back? He’d have to look later.
Kat was still grinning as she sat at the computer, scrolling through a Google search. He could see she’d typed in “travel essentials in India” and his stomach gave a little lurch. But he soon brushed the uneasy feeling away when Kat called out, “Bill, can you get the suitcases down for me?”
“Love, we’re not leaving for two months. Can’t it wait?”
Kat rolled her eyes. “Don’t be ridiculous. I need to know what I’m taking and if it’ll fit. I’m not leaving anything to chance.”
And she went back to Google and typed “travel accessories”.
Catch up on all the past Adventures of Kat here…