Normally I carefully plan my travel. I make an itinerary with color-coded boxes for air travel (pink), land travel (orange), accommodations (green), things to do (blue) and important notices (bright yellow). Sometimes I add things like expected temperatures or the time of low tides – whatever might be helpful.
I have several checklists of things to pack, organized by length of stay and weather (cold, cool, hot, and cold plus hot), so I can just pick one and modify it as needed for the particular trip at hand. Of course, the tops are cross-referenced with the pants.
I start reading about the places I will visit months in advance, including arm-chair travel books and novels set in locations of interest. I research the Internet for places to go and things to see. In short, I joyously apply my over-achieving organization and execution skills to my travel passion so that I’m worry-free when I get there.
But this week, I find myself heading to Venice via London, having had only six days to plan. Yikes! Most of the little blue boxes are empty. I don’t know which airport water taxi (the orange or blue line), will get me closest to the hotel from the airport. I don’t even have Euros. I must say, I feel a bit unsettled, almost naked.
How did this happen? Last week my daughter, now living in London, called to announce that her professors were on strike. “So let’s go somewhere!” I got dragged into the conversation, offering that I had an Interval International week that I had to use by April 11th or lose. So we looked up what was available for this week in Europe, figuring it would be easier for me to go there than for her to come to Hawaiʻi.
“Look! There’s a spot available in Murano!” Venice, with its surrounding lagoon islands, was a favorite from a trip we took in 2015 with her sister. It’s been at the top of my list for a return visit ever since.
“Well, I’m not sure I can use frequent flier points on such a short notice,” I cautioned. But The Universe was with us. Not only could I get a free flight, but I could use Marriott points for the extra day we needed to preposition ourselves in Venice and for an overnight stay on the way home. The flight from London to Venice was $55 – round trip! Admittedly, I had never heard of the airline (easyJet), but I was feeling lucky and by this time, excited and hopeful, looking forward to the delights of Italy once again.
We were both asking each other and ourselves if we dared do it. “Let’s be spontaneous for once!” I declared. It’s been a whirlwind ever since to prepare for take-off.
Europe is an especially appealing destination because I can stray from my current eating lifestyle. I’ve been following Dr. Gundry’s gut-health diet for a year now. I’m losing weight and feeling better, with less inflammation in my joints. The benefits far outweigh the sacrifices, but sometimes I just must have bread or pasta. The good news is that I can eat carbs in Europe. It’s too lengthy to explain here, but it’s real. Even Dr. Gundry eats bread when he’s there.
This is happening at just the right moment for me. I am in the process of making some major changes in my life. I’ve been posting less on Facebook and haven’t written any blogs since October while I figured out what’s next for me – the next chapter. So I’m considering this trip the opening story in this new phase of my life. One thing I don’t see changing – I still plan to live life full out, just maybe a bit more spontaneously. Ciao.
For another essay from this trip to Italy, see:
To see my Venice essays from a trip in 2015, go to:
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