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Pictures by QT Luong

One week from now, I’ll be leaving for a two-week sojourn in Italy, traveling first to Anacapri, then to the ankle area of “the boot,” otherwise known as the Amalfi Coast–specifically Positano, and wrapping up with a few precious days in Rome.

The occasion?  A week-long writers conference in Positano (I’m a fiction writer, currently working on a novel – www.judepolotan.com ).  And if you’re already going to the expense of traveling to Italy, you may as well make the most of it, right?

While I have always been big on anticipation, perhaps because I have been particularly over-committed as of late, this trip has sneaked up on me.  But sneaked up on me it did this past weekend, and as always, I am filled with this sense of I-can’t-believe-I’m-going-to-[insert destination]-it-seems-unreal! 

It may seem unreal, but I can’t wait.  When I should be working on my novel or paying my bills, instead I’m surfing the Internet for information on hiking in Capri or the perfect off-the-beaten-path restaurant in Rome.  I’m making lists of what to do (get euros! call credit card companies!) and of what to bring (adapter, travel journal, walking shoes for cobblestone).  I’m reading a guidebook and travel literature about Italy (Pagan Holiday by Tony Perrottet).  I’m reliving my last trip to Rome by poring over old photographs.

I wake up excited each morning now, counting down the days in my head.  The days leading up to a trip are more hectic, but also happier than other days.  Like Christmastime when you were a kid, but the “gifts” are better!

I’m reminded of an Australian woman for whom I once worked.  She’d travelled to virtually every country in the world.  Everytime she was going on a trip–Kenya, Morrocco, Vietnam, Tibet–I was beside myself with envy.  (Paradoxically, she afforded her employees little vacation time.)  I thought I could at least live vicariously through her anticipation and I would arrive at the office in the mornings and say to her, “Are you getting excited?”  But she never really was.  She was looking forward to the trip perhaps, but her attitude was blase, world weary.  I was disappointed, but I also felt sorry for her.

My profound hope is that, no matter how much I travel, the jittery anticipation I feel before taking off for a distant land never leaves me.  Anticipation is an integral part of the fun, a part I truly savor.

Oldies but Goodies

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