In my post of March 27th (Of Birthdays and Bucket Lists) I noted a personal existential urgency to travel. Mentioning how I’d still never been “over there”, I spoke of wanting to experience “the view of reality you get from traveling to the other side of the pond.” And that, whether it would be financially prudent for us or not right now, “years from now, what will matter most is having done it while we still could”.
At the end of the post, after reporting on how Shelley (on her birthday no less) was able to secure her disability benefits, I finished by saying, “And oh yes, we are so going to Europe this year!”
Sunday, Shelley and I will be leaving for two weeks in Venice, Florence, and Paris. Actually, I can hardly believe it! I’ve never been so far away from the USA. In 63 years, I’ve traveled west to Hawaii, north to Canada, South to Aruba, and East as far as…Maine. So I’m psyched!
But oy — all the hundreds of details to attend to, not only to travel to two foreign lands, but also to make all the preparations for just being away for two weeks!
And I admit the thoughts come: “I’ve lived this long without going there. What if I’m not really meant to journey to such a foreign land during this lifetime?” Then I remember: We’re here to make our own “meant to’s”!
And alas, with my job, two weeks is the max I can ever go away. Any longer than that and all my patients would surely die without me, right?
Anyway, attending to all the details I am, and away I will be.
And besides an immense gratitude for the opportunity to travel to places I’ve only ever dreamt of, I’m finding myself feeling a sort of sensorial horniness: I’m longing to go taste the music there; to listen to the food; smell the art; breathe in the history as well as breathe the same air people have inhaled there on ancient streets for far longer than there have ever been streets here.
Only in Montreal back in 2000 did I get a whiff of French culture, and I liked it. I want to go and see if the French in my blood quickens (my maternal grandfather’s name was Jacques) as I stand on that soil.
And if you have been to any of these places yourself (we’ll probably also be taking a day in either Siena or Assisi), we welcome your thoughts or recommendations.
So listen — for the next two weeks, you may not be hearing from me. I’m not sure yet whether I can, or will want to, maintain my Tuesday morning midnight-to-dawn ritual epistle to y’all.
Romeo too will have to get along without us. But at least he’ll be at home. (Thank God for cat sitters!)
Moreover, if we really love it over there, there’s always the possibility we won’t return, but I’d say there’s no more than an 80-90% chance of that.