"It is down to two, at most three," I announced one evening after dinner. "I am going to the bookstore. When I come back, I will have a decision."

When I returned about two hours later, I showed them the book I purchased: 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.

Sam slapped his forehead, shook his head, and chuckled. "Only this family," he said, "could go out to make a decision and come back more confused."

He was right. In bed at night, I leafed through the book, torturing myself with new ideas.

"The Icehotel in Sweden - wouldn't that be cool, hon?"

"Mmmm hmmm."

"Oh, man. Cape Town, South Africa. That would be incredible, huh?"

"Mmmm hmmm."

"How 'bout the Australian Outback? That'd be amazing."

"Jim, I'm trying to read here."

The excitement was building.

A few days went by and, with spring break fast approaching, I finally chose. "It's done," I exclaimed one morning. "I know where we're going."

To protect the secret, I resolved to not tell a soul. As a result, our plans became a guessing game. At dinner parties, friends blurted out place names. "Prague." "Barcelona." "Kansas."


"I like to bet on long shots."

The question arose: Who will pack for Jessica and Sam? The answer: I will.

Jessica became anxious about this. "I'll open my suitcase, and there will be nothing but nighties and high heels," she said.

Yeah? The problem?