So, back to Italy

This post is part of a series called Italy 2012
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Let me say off the bat that I fully acknowledge that everything I post from this point forward is the ranting of an over-entitled middle class yuppie.

Ok, proceeding with whining about first world problems.  Over the last few years I’ve become a full blown travel junkie.  While lacking the the creativity- and physique-enhancing qualities of heroin (see: Iggy), the travel addiction consumes an unreasonable amount of my mental energy.  My mental list of “must-do” travel destinations stretches on and on – to the point that I often get a little sad, realizing that I’m unlikely to hit them all in my lifetime.

And yet, I’m about to head back to Italy for the fourth or fifth time, in almost as many years. Why’s that?

To me, travel serves many purposes.  While some travelers take a cynical approach to seeing the sights (“gosh, you went to the pyramids while you were in Egypt? What a waste of a day!”), I tend to believe that the sights are sights for a reason.  Experiencing them in person is meaningful.

There’s the cultural side of travel as well – interacting with the global community, experiencing life in a different context, and taking the opportunity to settle in to a place.  For me, Italy, and particularly Florence, is a home away from home.  In this case, I’m not going to Italy to see great art (though there’ll be some of that) or do some capital-s Shopping (there’ll be none of that), but rather to eat, breathe, and enjoy a culture that I value greatly.

This trip will also be a little different, in that I’ll be doing some “adventure” travel.  After checking out Milan, I’m headed into the Dolomites to do some Via Ferrata.  If you’re not familiar with Via Ferrata, check out this primer.  Honestly, I don’t know quite what to expect from it – it may be physically taxing, or it may be a slightly-scary hike.  It may be quiet and lonely, and it may be a rolling party.  I’m guessing there’ll be Germans involved, because you can’t do anything semi-athletic in Europe without running into Germans.

Initially, I landed on a via ferrata climb in an effort to recapture the experience I had on the Camino de Santiago last year.  I no longer expect anything like that experience, and I’m trying to temper my own expectations.  Because via ferrata climbs are typically undertaken either by locals or by groups with a hired guide, there are a variety of logistical issues that I’ve left up to chance – renting gear, having places to stay, and so on.  All part of the adventure.

Do I worry?  Of course not.  I’ve got an iPhone and a credit card.  Everything else can be dealt with.


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