In January I began co-teaching a ballroom dance class with a friend of mine. Every week I send out video links and reminders regarding the next class. Shortly after I sent out my latest missive, I received this email response -
I'm sorry, but the kids and I are heading to Rome on Thursday, so we won't be able to attend on Thursday.
My initial response was - oh well, we'll miss them but see them next week. Then I got to thinking about how friends and family back in the States might perceive this and realized it is an odd world over here. We country hop like it is nobody's business. Trains can get us easily and quickly to England, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Allen has "away" meets for track in England, Germany and the Netherlands. There are discount airlines that make Rome or Dublin day trip or weekend destinations.
In the time it takes us to drive from DC to Michigan we could be in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and/or Switzerland. If we don't feel like driving so far then we simply visit the Netherlands, Luxembourg or closer parts of Germany or France. Having lunch in France is not unreasonable.
All of the above is not to brag - I hope you don't perceive it to be. It is to say that geographically, we can get to many interesting destinations without alot of fuss and expense. Thus when I hear of people going to Rome, I really do think nothing of it. Belgium may not be a fantastic travel destination but truly it is a great travel from destination. One that we have been fortunate to enjoy.
European travel is great. There are many places to see and enjoy. I understand it is a big deal. Trans-atlantic plane fare isn't cheap. Once you take the Atlantic Ocean out of the way though, traveling European countries becomes quite economical and something many Americans enjoy while their here.