Canada has welcomed me home to emerald and crimson leaves, crisp air and the unending squawking of geese pretending to fly south.
One cold boring day last year, I decided to make plans for a massive journey from Greece to the heel of Italy up it's shin to Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Milan, Venice and then on to Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Britain and finally France.
I started pasting photos of the usual suspects around my office and then sought out the more bizarre and less travelled places that either amused or intrigued me. I googled traditional foods of each area and looked for reviews on the best places to find such delicacies. Plane, train, bus and Metro schedules were studied intently and cheap hotels, awesome hotels and places where sleep would not be required were plotted along the route.
Planning the perfect trip became an adventure of it's own, from deciding where to hide my money to stuffing 7 weeks of clothing and paint into a carry on. I began to fancy myself a travel ninja.
On paper it all seemed quite exciting, but the die hard chickenshit in me was sure it would involve the crashing of planes, trains and autos, robbery, injury, heartbreak, disappointment and at least one lost passport. I cannot stress enough how infinite my fears are. I create new ones every day. They include flying, deep water, being too fat to escape disaster through some small opening, choking on hard candy and ultimately being axe murdered to name a few. There was also the fear of travelling alone. Why would a hundred year old fat lady think she could handle such a trip without a guide or companion? I cannot outrun toddlers or throw a punch. English is my only tongue and the idea of travelling alone and in silence seemed lonely and I daresay pathetic. The cry of the chickenshit is always "What if something goes wrong?"
The great thing about having multiple personalities is the ability to hear the other voices. Thankfully the enthusiastic, adventurous fool in me stepped up to the plate and took control. I decided to embrace her optimistic chant "What if nothing goes wrong and you have the time of your life?"
Inspired and empowered by my own blind enthusiasm, I booked the first of six flights. My chickenshit self ran away to hide and weep while the warrior in me booked hotels, charted paths to bizarre and remote places of wonder and awe. I sat back smugly with my wine (which may have been a factor that evening) and relished the idea of this grand adventure.
Over the next little while, I shall blog my days well spent. To me, they are full of wonder, humorous encounters, and ancient spirits who whispered direction to serendipitous moments that made me feel as though the world was created exclusively for me.
To anyone who feels wanderlust tugging at their jeans, but fear the unknowns of travel, I can tell you with great confidence, you need only take the first step and your journey has begun. The unknowns are where the magic happens.
As I stood at the airport, nervous but ready to board, I asked for some peace and a sign this was an okay idea. The photo below is what I almost walked into a few minutes later. ;)
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