One of the things I savor above all else is traveling (for fun) to a far away place.  When we commit to a “big” vacation, we typically plan it about 9 months out.  During that time I become totally immersed in the thought of it.

I learn the language (or at least I attempt to).   Balcony (15)_2Tom checks out hotels.  I look for gardens in the surrounding areas.  Tom finds unique restaurants.  I search for monasteries with chanting monks.  Tom prices rental cars and plots best routes.  I google live music.  Tom books flights.  I hope to discover uncommon shopping experiences.  Tom calculates exchange rates.  I plan my wardrobe.

And all the while, my excitement grows.  Almost to the point that when it arrives, I fear that it will pass like a flash and evaporate before my eyes.  And sometimes it does.

I’ve always felt that part of the fun of travel was the anticipation of the trip.  But it only sunk in recently when I was challenged to think of what motivates me most.  When I feel the most driven.  The most full of excitement.  I realized it was when I was preparing to travel to a foreign place.

View (21)_2We’ve decided to go to Europe next fall.  Portugal.  Or France.  Or Spain… or Italy.  One of my new requirements is to stay in one place for a full week, in a beautiful setting in a home like environment.  Such as the apartment in a Tuscan Villa that we rented on our last trip.

It appeals to me to have a home-like surrounding.  To not rely on maids, restaurants and valets.  Funny, those are things that many people value on vacation.  But the ability to get a sneak peak into real life in a foreign country is priceless.   To find the farmer’s market.  To discover the local wine.  To try our hand at cooking the local specialties.  To eat breakfast in my caftan.  To host an impromptu dinner party.

Already I am looking forward to the upcoming year and all the anticipation ahead.