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My bags are packed. I'm ready to go.

Have you ever felt inexplicably connected to something or somewhere? For me, that is Italy. I don’t know if I lived there in a past life making pasta and drinking all the wine or if there’s another reason that I have felt connected to Italy since I was a child. I can remember going to the school library and looking it up in the Encyclopedias (oh…the days before Google) seeing the pictures of the streets that looked so vastly different than anything here in the states. The art of it all just made me feel like that’s where I belonged; like it was calling my name. I will never forget the feeling of getting choked up knowing that someday I would go there and walk those streets.

For years I would say that my biggest dream was to go to Italy. It was number one on the bucket-list, but I never really made any intentional goal to go. It was just a dream. Finally I made it a goal for my ten-year wedding anniversary to go. So, when the marriage fell apart a year short of that I, of course, abandoned that idea, until one night when I was watching the history channel and something came on about Rome and I got that feeling deep in my gut, the same feeling I had in the library that day looking at the Encyclopedia. I suddenly felt alive in a way I still can’t explain. So I thought…what are you waiting for? So what if your plan for a ten-year wedding trip failed. So what if your marriage failed. Why does that mean that you can’t live your best life and do things that you’ve always dreamed of? What I always ask myself is “What would I want my son to do?” He is my life compass. I knew I had to lead by example and be fearless and be in love with my life for him even if that meant me going by myself. I needed to quit waiting for the right time and make the right time.

I remembered a friend of mine that had recently traveled to Europe and said that her and her fiancé found an amazing deal on plane tickets and decided to just book them, knowing full well that they didn’t know how they could afford or make it work, but they knew that if they booked the tickets they would make it work and sure enough, they did and had an unforgettable time. So I started the research. I found some incredible resources, which I will share in an upcoming blog, and found a round trip flight to Italy for $450. So I booked it! Then I cried. Then I had a mild panic attack. Then I cried again.

Fast forward to now, nine months later, and I am leaving today. I am spending time in London, Florence, Cinque Terre, Rome and Copenhagen. I am traveling all by myself and yes, I said all by myself, because this is something that I decided I need to do just for me, on my time and in my own way. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and I am already planning a trip back next year with them, but this one needs to be just me. I have a lot planned, but it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t wing it to a certain degree. Do I have some mom guilt for leaving, yep, but that fades quickly when I remember two things. One: I am setting an example of living life to the fullest for him and he will be coming with me as soon as he's old enough. Two: my mother traveled to France when I was young and I have always admired her for it and loved hearing her stories.

I don’t know what the next eleven days has in store for me, but one thing I do know is that I am going to soak every bit of it in; the moments that frustrate me, the moments that make me laugh, the unexpected and the moments that take my breath away. Every moment is part of this journey that I’m on to live the best life that I can, absorb all that I can and be the best me that I can be.

The last line of the last Beatles song recorded with all four members reads, “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” I’m sure there are many different interpretations of the meaning of that phrase, but in my mind it means that we are only able to create things equal to what we have absorbed in this life. So if we are only absorbing negativity and toxicity, then that is all that we will be able to make. But on the flip side, if we are absorbing and surrounding ourselves with beauty, love, positivity and possibility, then think of the wonders that we could create. So that is my intention for the next eleven days, to absorb all that is wonderful so that I can, in turn, pay all of that wonderful forward.

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