No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow. – Lin Yutang
I learned last night that it’s challenging to fall asleep on the eve of your two-week trip to Italy. Very challenging actually.
This will be my first ever Christmas and New Years not spent in good ol’ Portland, Oregon. Instead, Christmas will be in Rome and New Years in Venice. Not quite the same as the “weirdest city in the West,” but I suppose it’ll do.
However, I will keep alive the streak of spending the holidays with family…assuming I can locate my brother once we both make it to Italy.
Beginning in Milan and then making our way southward, we hope to hit the major cities and see the major attractions. But other than where we arrive and where we’ll be on the 25th and first midnight of 2014, nothing’s been extensively planned.
And that’s kind of scary. The unknown is scary. Where will we sleep? How will we travel between cities? Italy is one of the few countries in Europe where outside of the touristy areas, no one really speaks English.
And while I’ve eaten my fair share of lasagna, played quite a bit of Mario and Luigi, and greased my hair back once or twice, my Italian is not that great.
At 23 years old, I studied abroad in Southeast Asia, but other than that, I’ve never really been outside of the country. This, then, will be my first unstructured departure from American soil. And although I’m anxious—will my wry smile and sly wink be equally well perceived over there?—I’m also very, very excited.
A vacation is about the destination; an adventure is about the journey.
This trip is an adventure…literally, my brother did zero planning for this excursion, and with everything in grad school, I’m lucky I even had time to buy a plane ticket.
Fortunately, in my moments of great concern, I can always think of my mother’s panic to remind me how relaxed I truly am: “Now, I don’t need to tell you this…[but I totally will because I’m freaking out].”
However, neither of my parents need worry. For I have no intention of getting misplaced in Italy. In fact, I have every intention of returning to the United States.
If nothing else but for the fact that peanut butter isn’t a thing over there. And I need me my peanut butter.
P.S. While in Italy, I doubt my brother will let me find time to compose my weekly blog posts. So consider these next two weeks my Christmas present to you by not having my ramblings shoved up your noses.