It’s 4:00 PM and I just changed my outgoing voicemail message for the first time in three years. Because that’s how long it’s been since I flew abroad. When I arrive in Tuscany to lead my Write, Travel, Transform retreat, I’ll be buying an Italian SIM card and won’t be able to get calls on my US number until I return home in July. (Not that anyone telephones me anymore, but just in case someone needs to reach me in an emergency, they’ll know I’m not blowing them off).
I’m down to my last pre-departure checklist and am finally starting to feel excited. Part of me has been waiting for the other shoe to drop, because a) my system is wired toward anxiety (but not when I travel!), b) I’m one of the leaders in charge, and c) with so many shoes dropping around all of us all the time, I’ve gotten used to bad news. But 24 hours before our scheduled departure, everything is going according to plan. My bags are packed. Our pet sitter flies in this afternoon. The WhatsApp thread for our group is filling with last minute travel questions. Anyone emailing me today gets a message that I’ve already left town. Everything new arriving in my inbox gets filed in the SAVE FOR LATER digital folder.
The only things left on my final list are: pack gong; give Karyn details of my return flight; hide car keys; lock office; orient pet sitter; pack travel pillow, hanging clothes, c-pap machine, and charging cables; copy passport; shower (yes, I actually write things like that on my list sometimes—I want to arrive in Italy with clean hair); charge external phone battery; check in for flights, find an object to let go of; and study Italian.
The last thing on the list, I’m afraid, I’ve been a total slacker with. I’ve missed out on the pleasure of letting Italian roll around in my mouth and over my tongue for months now. I’ve had STUDY ITALIAN on my list since the new year. I just never get to it. I’ve been too busy, too focused on other priorities. It’s a daily anticipatory pleasure I’ve missed out on. Just think what I’d be able to say by now if I’d stuck to my intention: 15 minutes a day! A lot more than “Good morning” and “Where is the bathroom?”
Google Translate will just have to do.
Mostly, on the eve of our departure, I feel a lightness growing inside me. A sense of joy. Layers of stress and anxiety and “nose to the grindstone” lifting from my core. Happiness is growing inside of me. I can feel it.
It’s strange to think that I’ll be at the airport with Karyn, waiting to board our Swissair flight as the first January 6th hearing begins. I hope to watch it in the airport on a big CNN monitor as we play 500 Rummy and wait for our flight to be called. The world will keep unraveling as we travel to Italy. As we unravel ourselves.
I am grateful I’ll be stepping into a different reality.
If you don’t want to wait for the email digest version of my virtual vacation posts, you can follow me directly on social media: