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2017 Swiss-Italy Trip Countdown (T-12)

Written by Jeff Drake
9 · 28 · 17

Wow, my wife and I haven’t taken a foreign trip in… months! LOL! Somehow, our last trip, Cuba, seems so distant, but it was actually just last March. Given the current situation with Cuba and Hurricane Irma, we’re grateful we got to see it before the storm.

Once bitten, twice remembered!

We’ve been home long enough now to feel the “travel bug” once again. Funny how that bug always manages to eventually creep up on you and give you a nice bite!

Certainly, after any foreign trip, it takes time to recover and believe me, it doesn’t get any easier the older you get. But, I’m not talking just about recovering physically, since that typically happens in a few days. I’m thinking more about the time it takes to mentally digest the trip you just enjoyed, and the time it takes to blanket yourself in that warm, wonderful feeling you get being back in your own house, sleeping once again in your own bed, surrounded by your pets, eating familiar food, etc. Yet, this post-trip stage of well-being is short-lived, at least that’s been our experience.

Soon you find your eyes drawn to travel ads and travel TV shows. Your ears start perking up when you hear people talking about either places you’ve been, or places you hope to see. You find yourself looking at photos of recent trips and remembering how much you enjoyed the experience and laughing or gritting your teeth as you remember those things that did not go quite so well. And soon, before you realize it, you’re making plans to leave home again.

If it is true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, I think it is also true, for those who love to travel i.e., those that have been truly “bitten”, that the longer you go without traveling, the stronger the desire within you to get off your ass and do it again!

Doubling our Pleasure!

This time we are returning to the European continent, a journey that includes a first-time visit to a new country for us – Switzerland; and a return to a country and more specifically, a region, that we both fell in love with in 2009 – Tuscany, Italy! Oh, and we threw in a bit of the Italian Riviera, just for fun!

Similar to our Cuba trip, when we traveled with our good friends, Kathy Treb and Jim Pollock, we will have company on this trip, too – Mike Connolly and Denise Fischer!

And I have to say that not only am I excited about the trip we’re taking, but also the fact that I will get to spend 3 weeks of absolute quality time with my best friend in the whole world, Mike, and his wonderful wife, Denise!  Two countries + two close friends is doubling our pleasure, for sure!

When close friends live in different geographic states, it is often difficult to see each other, face-to-face. A result of getting older, perhaps, but I sometimes reflect on the fact that there are people, good friends – hey, even relatives – that at best, I will only see once per year, maybe every two years. I’m 66 now and if I’m honest, I can probably realistically count the number of times I will see these people again on two hands before age, illness, circumstances, whatever, prevents us from ever meeting face-to-face again. Traveling by itself, is, I think, extremely valuable. Being able to spend 3 weeks traveling and enjoying new experiences with close friends, is priceless!

Back to DIY Travel!

We have gotten into the habit the past few years of using our favorite touring company, “Overseas Adventure Travel” (OAT), for our foreign trips. Prior to 2012, when we used our first tour company, “China Spree”, for a fantastic trip to China, we did all of our trip planning ourselves. Somehow we always seemed to manage balancing the travel-planning workload between us and historically, our trips have always worked out extremely well.

Then we discovered the pleasure of traveling in small groups via OAT, and we got very spoiled. There is something to be gained by traveling to a foreign country where no one speaks English and your only real responsibility for the trip is to just show up, everything else is taken care of. You can definitely get used to that and we will travel with OAT again. But there is something that can be lost, too. Putting in the personal effort it takes to plan, book and execute, a foreign excursion is very rewarding when it all comes together!

Our upcoming trip is a group effort, for sure. Mike’s previous experience visiting Switzerland put it on our map and our itinerary, for which we are grateful! We are SO excited about going to Switzerland! As for Italy, our last trip to Tuscany in 2009 left an indelible imprint on our memory, because it always comes up as a place we want to revisit. Thus, combining Denise’s penchant for great food and wine and our own love of the Tuscany region, adding Italy to the itinerary was a very easy decision.

I’ll breakdown our itinerary in a future post. Right now, we are still busy capturing data about the trip, but it is mostly minutiae at this point, the heavy lifting has been done.

Now that I seem to have figured out this blogging thing, I plan on blogging throughout our trip, posting thoughts, stories, photos and videos, of our adventure. I hope you’ll join me.

Watch this space!

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Jeff Drake

Retired IT consultant, world-traveler, hobby photographer, and philosopher.
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