I get so excited as I browse through this smorgasbord of prompts because ideas start buzzing and soon my mind resembles a beehive and the only problem is which story to write first. Are you ever afraid that you’ll have a really great idea and then forget it? And then you think, that could have been the story idea that got me onto the New York Times bestseller list and an interview with Ellen Degeneres. Or maybe that’s just me.
I make a point not to spend my time wishing to be elsewhere, but since the book asked, the place I dream of is Italy. About a month ago, the travel agent asked why I was going to Europe. In one of those moments where you say exactly what you think I replied, “Because I feel like I’m going to die if I don’t.” Europe has been my dream ever since I can remember. The year before last I got to a point where I couldn’t even listen to people talk about Europe, because I wanted it so much. I would walk out of group conversations and considered deleting a few of my friends from Facebook when it felt like my entire friends list was travelling Europe. In Year 12 I asked our coordinator to take down the posters for Au Pair (the overseas nannying gap year program) if he wanted me to get a university education. There has always be a reason why I can’t go and I constantly fear that I won’t be able to reach Europe before something or someone ties me down, and then I would end up resenting them or it (just the sad truth).
But this year there is finally no obstacle and my dream of Italy and Europe is becoming a reality – although it still seems way too good to be true. A reality of peanut butter sandwiches for dinner and avoiding spending money on most things as I scrounge together the cash in a relatively short amount of time (apparently these things are best booked a year in advance, note to self for next time).
I dream of Europe … of the Eiffel Tower and vineyards of France; the ravioli and Venetian long boats and painted ceilings of Italy; the white washed houses of Greece, the mountain peaks of Austria and Switzerland, brushed with snow and dotted with wildflowers; the myriad dead authors’ houses and red telephone booths of England; the history that haunts Berlin.
People have said to me, “But what if it’s not what you dream of?”and I say, “That’s for me to find out.” Even if Europe is a total washout for me, and I turn out not even liking one single thing, I can live with that. But I have to know. I’ll go crazy if I don’t, and the thing I can’t live with is not getting to experience it.
Most days I’m content where I am, but right now I’d also be content floating down a Venetian canal in a gondola, squinting at the Italian sun through Armani sunglasses (likely) as I eat a slice of authentic pizza. For the afternoon I’ve planned a cooking class and a tour through old churches with art crafted centuries ago.
Yes, I can’t wait for September.
Image: http://best-wallpaper.net/wallpaper/1440×900/1305/Vernazza-Italy-city-sea-beach-boats-houses-people_1440x900.jpg, sourced 29 April 2016.