Tomorrow I leave for Italy. I will be gone for 18 days. The first 15 days are vacation. The final three days are visits with business contacts and clients in Florence, Milan, and Zurich. This trip is a new adventure for me in several different ways. I am excited and nervous at the same time.
First, I have never been to Italy. In fact, my only trip across the Atlantic happened in 1980 when my wife and I celebrated my law school graduation by visiting England, Scotland and Ireland for three weeks.
I am excited about experiencing the people and culture of Italy. I’m sure I will struggle at times with the language barrier but I will do my best to put my Italian phrase book to good use and at least make an effort to communicate with the locals in their language.
Second – and even more intimidating to me – is that this will be my first vacation trip as a single guy since I lost my wife last year. I am not traveling with family or friends. Instead, I will be touring the Tuscany and Umbria regions of Italy with thirteen strangers. Ten of the thirteen are traveling as couples. There are two others traveling solo like me. My goal is that at the end of the two weeks, my fellow travelers will no longer be strangers and that at least some of them will have become friends.
I will need to have the right attitude to accomplish these goals. I cannot feel sorry for myself just because I am no longer part of a couple. On almost every day there will be group activities but also time allocated for each of us to do our own thing. If I am feeling lonely, it is my job to either accept it as part of life or fix it by seeking out the company of others and/or immersing myself in the wonders of a new adventure.
Third, this will be an active vacation. There will be lots of walking, hiking, some truffle hunting, and even a day of white water rafting. (Who knew you could find that in Italy?) I have tried to prepare for this by doing lots of walking and biking on my own, hitting the gym for some strength training, and maintaining my yoga practice. I think I am ready but at age 63, you never know when a body system failure can arise!
So wish me luck. I hope to have some good stories to write about when I return.