I’ve found a couple of devastating dresses, which one should have for Italy, after all. A couple of nice skirts to pair with tanks or sleeves, whatever is required. The scarves I already have. No shoes yet. Still need to replace my suitcase, too, since the zipper on my main bag exploded last time I used it. It occurred to me that I will also need to pack some jeans and sweaters, since we’ll spend the final week in England, a spot not likely to be sunny and hot in October.
I read a blog very recently (apologize that I can’t remember where it was….if you know, tell me) in which the writer expressed her lifelong desire to go to England. And I remember when I felt that way, that it was so far away and so expensive and so impossibly wonderfully impossible that I’d never be able to go. Oh, I burned to go, first to England, then everywhere. The memory brought home a couple of things.
One, travel is so precious and fantastic and I’m very grateful that it has become a part of my life. I love to go. Especially go abroad. Just that phrase gives me a little shiver on my spine. If I have a trip abroad on the agenda for a given year, the mundane stuff seems ever so much more bearable. Last year, it was England, Scotland, France. This year, we were not going to take the time, but one thing and another conspired and we decided we really should go to England to see Christopher Robin’s mother. So we decided to go to Matera for the Women’s Fiction Conference, too, and check out a little of southern Italy while we’re at it. Naples and Pompeii. I’m doing a booksigning at a store in Bari, which will be quite an interesting experience. (If any of you speak Italian, I would like a beautiful phrase to sign in my book. I often sign "Walk in beauty," in English. Is there something poetic like that?) Then to amble around Kent in a very relaxed sort of way. Go back to Sissinghurst, for sure.
Anyway, point two: I know I say this a lot, but it’s worth saying again. A woman in one of my email societies thought it would cost $10-15K for one person to go to Europe for three weeks. No. Way. It can be done for much, much less, especially if you choose the time carefully. Full summer is out. Watch for holidays in the countries you are visiting, and check to be sure the sites you want to visit will actually be open. Then, there’s plenty of freedom to plan the cheapest possible times. The internet has zillions of bargains. There are house switching services. Hostels and B&Bs. Small ecotours for the active, or with special interests.
If you burn to visit another country, I strongly believe you should do it. Mark a date on your calendar, and start planning. Plan a budget, start saving, and make it a priority. It will change you, excite you, give you something to look forward to.
Point three: I have some new places on my "going abroad" list. Next year, it’s Australia and New Zealand. The year after, in 2009, it’s India. If I don’t put it on the list, things will keep knocking it sideways. In between, probably Hawaii (for CR who wants to see it) and Mexico with my girlfriends, since it’s really close and I have never been and I’m very sure I will really like it.
And next weekend, it’s Indianapolis, to teach Sense of Place. If you’re around, come visit.
What is your dream place to visit? If you don’t have plans to get there in the next year or two, what’s standing in your way? Where would you like to return?