Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Yes Old Country for Middle Aged Man

So now, at my wife’s encouragement, I’m now reading a book she just inhaled along with her new book club: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, a current bestseller. Gilbert accounts her year spread across Italy, India and Indonesia and the things she learned about herself. It’s a provocative, humorous and gut-wrenching memoir that speaks to me on many levels, and makes me want to travel to Europe more than ever.

I’m currently immersed in the “Italy” section. I know a few things about Italians. I lived with them for a big chunk of my life. I ate their food, inherited their Catholic guilt, absorbed a bit of their temper and passion. And there are Italians who are related to me who actually live in Italy—really, in Sicily—just waiting to meet me. My parents traveled there years ago and hung out with about 20 of them. Just writing about this makes me hungry and leaves me craving a good glass of red wine.

So I am thinking this might need to be the year when my wife and I hit Italy for a week or so, as visitors rather than tourists. It is our 15th wedding anniversary in May, so we have a good excuse—not that we need one. There are more logistics and financial questions than I can even name that will have to be grappled with first, but every great journey begins with a vision or an idea. So I am plunging into the pool of possibility here at the end of chilly January, and will see how sustainable it has proven itself to be by the warmth of summer.

If anyone is actually reading this, any tips on how to travel and see Italy on the cheap are appreciated and will result in me at least thinking about sending you dark chocolates!


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