After Donna explained her plan, Carla walked around in a daze for two days, fantasizing about seeing all the vacation spots she’d read about.

She then told her husband who wasn’t keen on the idea because they had always traveled together as a family. But (as Carla had rightly pointed out) he had just started a new job and wouldn’t be eligible for any vacation days for a year.

Miguel realized pretty quickly he wasn’t going to be able to fight this battle and besides his one daughter was in college and his son was now driving, so, really, when it came down to it, he didn’t have a leg to stand on.

A Horrible Boss but Great Co-workers

Carla knew the toughest part would be convincing her boss to grant her seven extra vacation days but being an optimist, she believed that even Bruce, “The Jerk,” would let her go. When Bruce said “No,” Carla seriously considered quitting but cried in the bathroom instead.

Upon hearing Carla wasn’t going on the dream vacation of a lifetime because she didn’t have enough vacation days, each of her co-workers donated one day. When she heard the news, Carla broke down and cried even harder, promising to bring them all back something special. The morning she left for Buenos Aires, she put a personal chocolate-ancho crème brulee on each of their desks and purposefully ate one right in front of Bruce without offering him one.

Vacation: Prayer and Planning

Even though Kelly didn’t “work” (as if having four kids under the age of 14 wasn’t work) it had taken a tremendous amount of prayer and logistics on her part to feel comfortable leaving her husband and children for 23 days while she gallivanted to places around the world without them.

It didn’t matter that Kevin, her prince (as all her friends called him) was encouraging her to go, said she deserved a vacation and his mom would help out. She felt guilty and, well, just a teeny bit hurt that everyone thought it would be so easy to cope without her.

One afternoon while the kids were in school, she stopped what she was doing and took a glass of lemonade out to her back patio, or as everyone in her family called it “her pondering place.” Instead of watering the flowers or cleaning the glass, she sat down in her favorite outdoor spot and listened to the fountain gurgle and the birds chirp.

She’d never traveled places outside the United States, except to Canada, and it would be amazing to see the other side of the world. All the women at church told her she was being crazy, just like Donna, Lisa, and Carla. Closing he eyes, she took a leap of faith, swallowed her pride, and then called Donna and said, “I’m in.”

Yoga and Lavender

To say Lisa was ecstatic would be an understatement. She had traveled quite a bit as a child to visit her relatives in Thailand, but she hadn’t traveled much lately. Like Kelly, Lisa also did her best thinking outside, so she took a glass of wine out to the patio table on her balcony (It had cost more to rent a place with a balcony but it was so worth it!) and breathed in the scent of lavender from one of the pots on the table. She didn’t think her boss would mind, but she was a bit unpredictable. Lisa would ask tomorrow after lunch, which seemed to be the best time.

Lisa’s boss at the yoga studio was totally understanding and told her that going to India would change her life, just as it had transformed hers the summer she turned 40. Since even Lisa thought her boss was “a little out there” she didn’t know if that was a good or bad thing but she wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth so she happily and listened to another story about the ashram her boss had stayed at 13 years ago on her dream vacation.

Next: Four Friends Begin Their Dream Vacation in Buenos Aires