Funny how planning a trip for a couple of years makes the reality of that trip almost non-existant...or at least, that's how it feels to me, now that I've actually booked the rentals in Florence and Paris, booked my flights, my day at the Uffizi Gallery and another at the Accademia Gallery. When I say these words out loud..."my day at the Uffizi Gallery"...there's a sense of something surreal about it...as if I'm not quite believing that I'm really going this year.
A few family members are not well at all, and my trip has been on hold for the last year and a half, because I was very reluctant to leave for a 3 - 4 week period, knowing that their health may deteriorate while I'm away. And so, I've put off, delayed, pushed backwards all designs for this time away, until finally, this year, I came to a point in my life where I realized my reason for not going had a lot to do with this... in some deep recess of my mind I kinda believed that by my staying home, it would act like a lucky charm of sorts.
Why, if I don't leave, I tell myself, everything will be alright, my family will be safe and my heart will not be broken by their passing. Yet, in reality, I know that there is no such thing as my having any speck of control over their staying or going...funny what tricks the mind plays with the heart, in matters like this.
So, the flights are booked and paid for, my rentals in Florence and in Paris are arranged and travel to and from the airports has been taken care of. I'm going. I am really going. To Florence. To Paris. I've a need to say this out loud every so often, to make it real...to allow the idea of it to saturate my mind and my soul.
Now, I am starting to pack, setting out my confirmations of bookings, guide books, maps, directions, phone numbers, the millions of little things that must accompany me on my trip to give me a feeling of safety and confidence.
I've ordered a hockey duffel bag with wheels...they're great! They hold ga-zillions of things, they're soft-sided so they expand like bread dough to hold all the treasures that accumulate over a 3 week trip, and they are easy to manoeuvre in and out of planes, on and off of luggage carousels. It's not here yet, and so a friend will loan me his, if my new one isn't here on time...It's so funny how I am super-excited and extremely sad at the same time...leaving my familiar surroundings, my darling family, my friends and my live as I know it here always makes me deeply sad for awhile when I am travelling...never figured that out as to why, it just is. I need to sleep on it, just to see if it becomes clearer in the morning.