I have been dreaming of this country for the majority of my life.
Three times I've had the opportunity to travel there, and three times is has not worked out. One of those times I actually purchased a plane ticket. Another situation consisted of applying to the American University at Rome, but never completing my admission application. The third and final time was simply bad timing. I was offered a job as a nanny, but the day before I had enrolled at a court reporting school in New Orleans (that I ultimately stopped attending when I realized it wasn't for me).
But I never stopped trying.
In March 2011, my husband gave me the greenlight to begin planning our trip to Italy for summer 2012. I was over the moon and immediately made a trip to Barnes and Noble. There I purchased a large map of Italy, an Italian travel guide, a travel journal, and Rosetta Stone in Italian, of course. The cashier excitedly asked me when I was going to Italy, and I responded with "I don't know, but when I do I'll be ready!!" And boy did I ever plan. I consider myself a Type A person with a hint of OCD when it comes to making travel plans. In my travel journal, I calculated our budget for food, lodging, travel between cities, souvenirs and activities that we would like to do. I determined the distance between all of the cities that we would like to travel to and even drew our route on my Italy map. I created my own calendar and mapped out all of the possible scenarios for our visit to each lovely city.
The first page of my travel journal. :)
In my heart I had hoped that this trip would finally be the one to come to fruition, but sadly it did not. Just a few months after planning this trip we discovered that we would be expecting our first child at the beginning of 2012 and immediately scrapped these plans. Of course I was sad, but I was overly excited about becoming a mother that not going to Italy didn't phase me. After all, I was sort of use to making plans and breaking them.
To be honest, I had almost given up. Going to Italy is #6 on my 30 Before 30 List and a few weeks back when I was revising my list, I had decided to take it off. I figured that it was just too much pressure on my family to take a trip to Europe in the next 3 years and I didn't want my husband to feel obligated for us to go. Not to mention there is a hefty price tag attached to this 2 week trip. I even wrote an unpublished post explaining why Italy has been moved to the Life List instead of staying on the Before 30 list. But here's the thing, just when I was ready to accept the fact that going to Italy just wasn't going to happen anytime soon, things changed.
Out of curiosity I checked the price on flights to Italy for next May-October. And what do you know? The price was lower than we had always anticipated. This got me thinking...what if we shorten the trip to 10 days and cut out a few cities? Would this make the trip feasible? I immediately approached the topic with Keith, who by now is used to this. :) We talked for a bit and decided that this new 10 day trip would be feasible. :D He will receive vacation benefits soon and would absolutely be able to work this out with his company. We obviously have financial obligations elsewhere, but if we budget correctly and start saving now, it could happen.
It could really happen.
Here I sit almost 8 years after that first failed attempt, truly believing with all of my heart that I will finally meet Italia next year. I picked up right where I left off in my travel journey, and to be honest there's not much left to plan. I already have everything figured out. :) Through all of my failed attempts, I know that everything has worked out perfectly. Had I traveled there when I was younger I may not have appreciated certain things. The biggest comfort now is knowing that when I do go, I will have my husband and son at my side. Even if Gavin won't be able to remember the trip, Keith and I will remember and we will make the most lovely memories.
I could listen to Mr. Martin all day...
No matter how many times I've tried and failed, this is the one trip that I will keep fighting to go on. I know it may not make sense, but I'm completely captivated by Italia. I know that I probably shouldn't get my hopes up, because things change and life happens, but I can't help it. I always wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to Italy, because to me it is totally worth it.