Sounds good on Paper – top ten


I’m changing the name of my blog to “Sounds Good on Paper.”

The reason…because all travel sounds good on paper, at least to me.     We’ve done so many things that sounded so good on paper.  It’s funny how the fantasy of travel can be so different than the reality. Not that it’s worse than planned, but almost always different.

Here are some travel related things we’ve done that sounded so good on paper and turned out so differently than planned.


1. Live in Italy for a year on a tourist visa.

On paper – We’ll move to Italy with eight pieces of luggage, a tandem and tourist visas.  We’ll hop over the border every three months to renew our visa.

Reality – Turns out after three months you have to leave Western Europe all together for the next three months. We ended up moving to Malta. I had never even heard of Malta before moving there.

Malta - not too shabby

2. Take a tandem bicycle to Europe.

On paper – We’ll take romantic rides all over Italy, have picnics.

Reality – Tandems are long and don’t fit in most rental cars and no taxi’s. Winter in Italy is not a good time to ride a bike.  Malta and Sevilla are not good places to ride tandems.  It took us eight months and a move to northern Spain before we ever went for a bike ride.

3. Take malaria medicine for 6 months while traveling SE Asia.

On  paper –  The chance of going crazy from the malaria medicine is small.   Besides, if either of us goes crazy we’ll see warning signs and stop taking the medicine.

Reality – I pretty much went crazy overnight. Poor Jeff had to deal with Thailand, Malaysia and a crazy wife who couldn’t function for over a month.

4. Visit a monkey forest in Bali

On paper – We’ll see amazing temples and baboons in a sacred forest.

Reality – I got in a fight with a baboon, Jeff took the monkey’s side. I’m still mad about it.


5.  Learn Thai language in Bangkok

On Paper – We would take a week long intensive language course.  We’d learn the language for a richer, local experience.

Reality – I had a panic attack on the taxi ride to class, and it went downhill from there. Turns out Thai is really hard.


6. Travel through southern India in April

On paper – Off season is the best time to visit India. Sure it’s hot, but we’re from Chicago. We can handle hot and humid.

Reality – No we can’t.  India is a special kind of hot, only a few degrees cooler than hell.


7. Take Jeff’s racing bike to Argentina

On paper – Jeff will ride through idyllic mountain roads with malbec vineyards and gauchos.

Reality – The bike suitcase is too big to fit in taxi’s and buses .  The idyllic roads are too dangerous. He’s told he will get mugged and the bike stolen if he rides on those roads.

8. Live in Argentina, travel throughout South America

On paper – We’ll rent a cheap apartment in Argentina.  On weekends we’ll fly to all the other countries.  It will be so cheap it will almost be free.

Reality – Airfare is expensive.  South America is big.   Buses are cheap, but 50 hours on a bus on way? I’m too old for that.  We’ll see those other countries on some other trip.

9. Ride an elephant in Thailand

On paper – We’ll sit in a little chair on an elephant and ride through through the forest, cross a river, laugh our heads off

Reality – No chair on elephant, Jeff told to stand on elephant’s neck, elephant doesn’t like Americans standing on its neck, begged to get off elephant after five minutes. Scared to death.

10. Camp on beach in Baja, Mexico.

On paper -We’ll camp on deserted sandy beach, no one in sight, just us and the sea.

Reality –  Spent first night with locals driving up and down beach in a pickup truck yelling at us.  Following nights spent looking for biggest, best lit, most Canadian RV to camp next to.

13 thoughts on “Sounds good on Paper – top ten”

  1. OMG! I laughed so hard I was crying. I love it! I am reminded of my own “sounds good paper” experiences.

    1. Isn’t it so funny how EVERYTHING travel related sounds so great on paper. Then you’re out doing it and like, “What sounded good about this again?”

  2. I have a new favorite entry – this one! It still sounds glamorous to those of us going to the office every day.

    1. I’ll be write back there in the office in a few months and making that new list of all these great new things to do and see. They’ll sound really good and then we’ll do them and be like, “hmmmm maybe should have researched that a little bit more.”

  3. #6 You already know how I felt about India in March. No better then April. Blazing hot from hell!

    #4 Monkeys, I have been harrassed by monkey in Thailand who wanted the bananas in my hand. I ended up just giving him the entire bunch. I envisioned handing them out to multiple monkeys. Also in Thailand I had to run from a red faced monkey. Funny story we will tell you about sometime. In India a monkey saw my water bottle and thought it was food so I had to run from him too.

    #3 Malaria medicine is much better then it was a few years ago. We took Malerone. It is more expensive but without the nasty side effects of going crazy. I recommend it.

    #5 I would never in a million years attempt to learn Thai. Way too many tones.

    This was a fun blog to read!


    1. Thanks Julie. I hope with #4 Casey took your side. Jeff and I discuss the monkey incident repeatedly and he still to this day ten years later sides with the monkey. If only I had video to prove to him I was not provoking that damn monkey! I wasn’t even holding any bananas. Seeing monkeys in the wild sounds like it’s going to be so much fun…not. Malerone was only available in Canada when we went to Asia. We had considered going across the border to get it at the time. Later we so wish we had. I would never take larium again. That was some scary stuff.

  4. Too funny.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences – it reminded me of some of my travel blunders.

    But hey! If we don’t try it, we’ll always wonder…..

    1. You’re so right. I don’t regret a single one. And, I’m sure there will be many more in the future. 🙂

  5. Hilarious! On my sounds good on paper list would be, “wander around Mumbai on my own, on foot.” In reality: hahahaha.

    Where else have you traveled since Argentina? My husband (also named Jeff) are headed to Argentina on Friday (sadly, for only a week) and have gotten all sorts of good tips from your blog.

    1. Thanks. Oh yes Mumbai. Ours was similar. Our fantasy was travel around Mumbai on foot in April, how hot could it be. Reality was, stand under the shade of a palm tree. Try to revive, wonder if it was safer to drink our own urine than die of dehydration.

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