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  • I was watching Project Runway this week and the episode took place in Italy. Ah Italy, a dream deferred. Indefinitely.

    In college I took expedited Italian with the hopes that one day my best friend and I will take that trip together and I would have a head start. My goal was Venice, hers Pisa. Its been years since then and all that is left of those classes are random scant words like pomodoro (tomato) and cane (dog). Since then, my best friend married an Italian man and has been to Italy twice. I was not upset about this at all although it meant that this dream trip was deferred further and I lost my built-in travel partner.

    In college I went to Europe with my friend at the time and we went to Germany and Czech Republic. We chose those places because that is where her family had homes so we saved loads of money by staying with them. I loved the trip immensely and was further reminded that I do indeed belong in Europe and it was never my choice to leave in the first place when my family immigrated. After college when I began working and saved enough money I went to the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Those places were chosen because I went with my boyfriend at the time who has already been to Italy when he was younger.

    Even when the volcano in Iceland exploded in 2010 halting all air traffic for a week it was scary, but I was secretly glad to be in Europe longer. When we finally got to the airport for the long arduous trip home through Morocco, I got a bookmark that said EXPLORE and took photos of the sunset through it. Sometimes adventure finds you. However, Italy was deferred again.

    In graduate school the study abroad programs were sparse and expensive so if an Italy option was available, it would have sent me another 10k further in school debt for classes I didn't want to take. Delayed again. Meanwhile I have to settle for living vicariously through stories of friends whose jobs were able to transfer them abroad. I devoured the chapters in Angels & Demons which took place mostly in Rome. I read hungrily though Eat Pray Love as Elizabeth's journey also took her to Italy for the very same reasons I changed my life 2.5 years ago and marveled at the parallels and her observations. I remembered looking in awe at Italian art as we covered it in art class, Caravaggio being my favorite for his use of light. I looked longingly through friend's honeymoon photos as many went to that part of the world. As I will probably never get a honeymoon trip, this is something I need to plan on my own.

    Thing is, I don't like to travel alone as I love sharing my adventures. My favorite memories are tipsy nights on Bourbon st in New Orleans with my college classmates, getting sunburned in Costa Rica with my grad school friend, being in absolute awe in remote parts of Iceland with a friend I initially met at work, laughing hysterically on Disney's cruise ship after cracking jokes with my best friend, and climbing hills in California's Redwood forest after a stop in Sonoma with my high school friend. It goes on and on, each friend connected to a precious memory somewhere in the world. All these places and Italy is still not part on the "been there done that" list. Perhaps I am waiting because I know for sure I will go one day so I choose other places first and adjust to other's travel plans as well.

    But I must ask myself how long before each friend who can still travel (sans kids) has already visited Italy, or each friend who does not care to go there, how long until I forget every single Italian word, how long before I am too old to walk an entire city in one day as I did with Prague years ago. So now I will enter travel contests or design contests and keep on hoping that one day things will work out and I will go to the one place thats been on the top of my bucket list before I knew bucket lists existed. Wanderlust is a restless thing and I never know where it will actually take me next.


    Week 25 of 52 - Story a Week in 2014
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