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'm joining the Slow Travel challenge and will attempt to blog every day during February. Several regular Slow Travelers are doing this, in part to inspire one another to keep writing through the grizzly bear days of February. I've just dubbed them as grizzly bear days because, if hot, humid weather is considered the dog days of summer, then these winter days -- when I want only to feed, sleep and occasionally snarl at people -- HAVE to be grizzly bear days.

However, since I can't hibernate and still keep my job, I'll instead write. It seems so much more difficult here in Ottawa than it did a few weeks ago from Rome. This, of course, relates mainly to subject matter. Life here in Ottawa is fairly dull. I try to distract myself by either thinking about a past trip, or planning a new trip. But that's not so interesting for other people to hear about.

In painful contrast (from my present perspective) it seemed the words just flowed when I was blogging from Rome. And it wasn't all attributable to the amount of limoncello I drank as I wrote. Clearly, life in Rome is much more interesting and a blog-worthy topic.

But that's probably not the only explanation for my dearth of words here and now. My colleague Ken Ross, who is a gifted writer and wit, suggested that getting out of one's rut is sure-fire way to break a creative block (I'm fairly certain he would never use the hackneyed term: "sure-fire")

Ken says that when he is on holidays, he gets lots of great, creative ideas for projects. That, he speculates, is because when one's routine is shaken up, one's creativity can flow more easily.

This, of course, is exactly the rationale I've been looking for, to justify taking a sabbatical from my job as a hired-pen (which really does stifle my creative impulses) and running off to live in Italy for a while. Unfortunately, I still need my paycheque and the benefits that go with my job, so I'll have to find some other way to get out of my rut, or at least shake it up.

Maybe writing daily in this blog will help.....and perhaps I'll spend more time dreaming about buying a little apartment somewhere in Italy, as my friends Jim and Marcie have done. Thinking about how I'd pay for that, definitely shakes me up!

Comments (2)


I for one, look forward to hearing all about your trip planning!

I see in another post that you're considering Bologna. Your outline resembles one I mulled over for our family trip last summer, although in the end, we stayed in Florence and Venice (first time to Italy for our two daughters and those places were their choices.)

Bologna remains on my list for future trips, although I think I must return to Rome first. I've only been to Rome once, with my mom and sister in 2006, and fell madly under its spell.


Anne, I think I remember your trip report about travelling with your family! And I really understand about your infatuation with Rome. My visit last month was my 6th (I think) and the very best.....I think actually the more time you spend in Rome, the more you love it!

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