Europe is actually happening and I can’t believe it.
After all kinds of back and forth wondering if airfare might drop and should we wait it out or just pull the trigger because the prices weren’t that bad, we finally did it. We booked our flights to Italy and I CANNOT believe it.
Before I dive into imparting all kinds of non-wisdom about traveling overseas, I want to provide a little more background on this particular trip.
This trip is a sabbatical. And if you hear the word sabbatical and picture an old professor in a wool sweater retreating to the mountains where he can close himself off from the world and write the next great American novel, please know I was in the same boat just five years ago.
But sabbaticals are a thing for a lot of people! Including me, apparently.
I’m incredibly fortunate to work for a company with unreal benefits—one of which is a sabbatical stipend every five years.
So yeah, I’ve been at my current job for a half-decade and that fact alone blows my mind.
Not because it’s felt like more or less time—five years sounds about right—but when I consider everything that’s happened in those five years, it’s amazing I’ve been going to the same office and working with the same people through it all.
Not a bad thing, by any means.
Now here we are! I’m taking a sabbatical to ITALY. Two weeks away from it all, being a total tourist with the boyfriend and wooooo buddy, are we cramming a lot into those 14 days.
For a just a split second I considered withholding the full agenda until we returned with plenty of pics to share, but I have the feeling each stop will call for its own post, so I’ll provide a high-level overview to start.
We’ll land in Rome and immediately board a train to Lamezia Terme.
If you’ve never heard of Lamezia Terme, its basically the top of the foot. And only 30 minutes from Adami—the tiny mountain town in which the Pane family name was born.
Yeah, it’s going to RULE.
From there, we’re taking another train to Assisi, then a train to Florence, then a train to Rome where we’ll hang with friends from Lincoln (beyond excited for this bit), before heading way north to Venice.
From Venice we’ll drive to Cinque Terre, then scoot on over to Lake Como for an “extended stay,” aka three nights instead of two with nothing on the docket but relaxation.
After that, it’s a quick drive to Milan for the flight home.
Still not convinced we’re totally insane? When it comes to lodging, we’ll likely only book two stops in advance. The rest are gonna wait ’til we’re there.
But here’s the thing: If I fall in love with a town, I’m not going to leave just because we have an Airbnb waiting somewhere else. Nuh-uh, no way.
That said, I’d also like to have the trains booked sooner rather than later. So we’ll probably stick closer to the intended itinerary than that devil-may-care statement lets on.
What I do know is that we’re heading over with one backpack a piece. Taking only the essentials and making sure to find at least one accommodation with a washer and dryer.
Does that mean we’re foregoing souvenirs? Absolutely not. We’ll cram a duffel into one of our bags and make sure to bring back plenty of goodies. But for the flight there (and meandering through cobblestone streets), we’re packing light.
Do I sound calm, cool and collected? Because I’m not.
I’ve traveled internationally twice in my life. And one of those trips was to Canada, so I’m not totally sure it counts.
The other was to Spain—11 years ago. To say I’m anxious about the overseas flight would be an understatement. But Drew does it at least twice a year for work, so I’m giving him the reins, whether he likes it or not.
That might be why I’ve become relatively comfortable with the unplanned approach. If he wasn’t so chill about figuring things out as we go, I’d have booked everything three weeks ago.
And I mean everything. Hotels, trains, rental cars, tours, DINNER RESERVATIONS. No stone left unturned.
The more I think about it, the less fun that sounds. Which is why I trust him with the otherwise nightmarish logistics.
Your prayers are greatly appreciated.
Title Credit: New Kids on the Block