Thursday, July 31, 2008

Does travel make me whole?

I’m sure you’re aware from my recent inconsistent attitude that I haven’t had a trip in the pipeline. I was edgy, irritable and not really coping well with the day to day. New challenges at work, unpredictable encounters with certain of the male species, crappy summer weather and my recently vamped up exercise schedule were, well, let’s be honest, running me down. So yesterday, I solved that problem. I found a killer airfare (albeit on a “new Private Italian Airline”) to Milan and Rome so I booked it. In 12 weeks I leave for a week in Italy.

And last night, I slept soundly, calmly and restfully for the first time in a while. Today I woke up able to face the world with a smile and not wanting to run down everyone in my path.

So then, the question arises: Does travel make me whole?

What is it about getting on a plane and going somewhere, anywhere, that’s not here? And what is it about Italy in particular that just draws me in? My poor family can attest to the recent crises of decision-making I had, kicking around Napa, D.C., Peru and Greece before finally saying “Oh screw it, I don’t care if I was just there last year…” and packing up to go to Italy. As I told them and anyone else who would listen, a year without Italy is just, well, a year.

Why does the world look differently today (read: better) now that I have this trip in the pipeline? Why do I feel joy in the expectation?

So raise your espresso cup and toast trip number seven to Bella Italia. At least this time I will be more fully versed in wines (thank you Jon T!) and I will have already covered most of the usual tourist ground in Rome so I can spend more time sitting in cafes sipping said wine or maybe even an espresso and read, absorb and write about the atmosphere. Hopefully I’ll get something publishable out of this trip, but that’s not my objective. I live to travel, clearly. And it’s just a bit more of that kind of living that I need right about now.


Jennifer Sage said...

I love to read about your travel desires - they so mirror mine! But mine are usually linked to a necessity for R&D, which, don't get me wrong - I am grateful for the opportunity and they allow me to get over there and enjoy the European fix I so desperately need. But they are filled with expectations and non-stop work from early am to late at night, frantically driving, driving, driving to discover something new, fit it all in, find a new cycling route, a new agriturismo or inn, special sights to see (and stopping at every tourist office to get info) in order to maximize my trip. None of that "Far Niente" I so desire, that you seem to fill your travels up with! Every time I go I promise myself one day of nothing but relaxation in pure Italian "far niente" or French "joie de vivre".... but I still end up filling that time with more WORK!

2 years ago I was doing some R&D in Umbria, and found a delightful inn in Spoleto. The owner of the inn and the manager/waiter/concierge/do-everything employee, were flirting with me (one of the joys of being a woman traveling alone in Italy - it doesn't bother me like it bothers some women! And besides, I was sending them a big group of clients) and set up a table outside in their patio with wine and wonderful homemade food and joined me at the table - not to discuss "work" but to just "enjoy" life and chat. I had brought maps and my daytimer and even my laptop....they took it away and put it behind the desk and said "NO! You Americans don't know how to enjoy! Far Niente! No MORE WORK!"

So I envy you my friend! Enjoy your trip and relish in every moment. I hope to go to Croatia in September to create a new region and routes for bike tours (which promises to be a lot of work). I am hoping that someday our paths will cross, hopefully in Italy... maybe we can take a bike ride together....or I'll call some of the Spinning instructors/presenters I know over there and have them create a special class just for us.

Enjoy your trip! Ciao!

Jennifer Sage

Elizabeth said...

You said it sister!

amybatt said...

Jennifer...yes, we both seem to have the travel bug! I don't mind traveling at all and relish the extra attention most of the time! ;-) I am going to try to do a bike tour with you once I'm a better road cyclist (still too new) and Croatia is on my to do list so I wish you the best in putting that together! Keep us posted!