A Traveler’s Afflictions

Readers, it’s time I reveal to you a couple of serious medical afflictions that I have which heavily impact my daily life. It’s been a little while coming with the diagnoses, but I think I’ve finally got everything nailed down. I realize I suffer from the following things:

Itchy Feet & Restless Legs

I suffer from the inability to stay in one place for too long, both literally and figuratively.

Some of my happiest times are when I’m in motion – on a train, on a bus, walking (that’s a big one), progressing through, well, just about anything. Airports have long been one of my favourite places; it’s all excitement. People are coming and going, and at any moment you’re in the same spot as people from all over the world. You’re gearing up for a time that you’ll probably be relying on only what you’ve been able to pack in your bag. I find it thrilling. I also find it thrilling to be in a new place. To get to know a place on foot. To “make it through” a series of travel connections to get to where you’re going.

itchy feet

Due to both economic circumstances and my personal preferences, I’ve spent the last little while with my thumb in many different pies, so to speak, and my feet in a few different places. I teach. I write. I travel. I work with Air Cadets. I take off, then I come home. I come home for awhile, then I take off again. I measure amounts of money by the number of plane tickets (usually to Italy) it can buy.

I have begun to plan work around my desire to travel. I only look for contract jobs with firm end dates, at which point I can reevaluate everything. At times I despise this, but I really can’t bring myself to work any other way at this point, because I hate to feel stuck, to feel stagnate. Talking with friends, I realize that part of this is just a being-in-your-20s thing, and maybe part of it is being a Gemini thing, and maybe part of it is just being Sarah. But since I don’t want to end up like this guy, I follow my restless legs and itchy feel when they tell me it’s time to get a move on.

restless leg

What they don’t tell you though, is along with itchy feet and restless legs comes the torment of the conflicted head and heart.

Conflicted Head, Conflicted Hearttravel-heart

To travel is a compulsion for me.

We’ve established that. And while my feet and legs are always gleefully, thoughtlessly happy when they’re moving, my head and my heart are not. Once all the excitement of the coming and going, packing and unpacking, taking off and landing has subsided, I often start to get a little niggling, nagging feeling somewhere north of my belly and south of my neck. This feeling then manifests itself in thoughts and questions, making my inner conversation, which usually happens on the plane, go something like this:

What if this plane crashes and you never see your family again?  You are not afraid of flying. (I’m actually not.) You know that statistically air travel is safer than car travel. Ask the flight attendant for a drink and go to sleep.

What if something happens to someone you love while you’re away? You staying at home is not going to ensure that nothing terrible happens to your loved ones. If something happens you fly home and deal with it. Something could just as easily happen while you’re sitting on the couch in Canada, miserable. Seriously, have a drink.

But if something does happen to someone, you’ve missed out on precious time because of your terrible compulsion to move around.  You know in the long run this will make you happier than sitting at home, sucking your thumb, waiting for something terrible to befall you or someone you love. Knock it off. Where’s that drink?

Then, the kicker.

Why do you have to be like this? What’s so wrong with home, with Canada, with your family, your friends, your life? Don’t you appreciate all that you have? What about a permanent job, your career, a house? You’ll never have these things if you keep jumping around.  Now look at you, alone in an airplane with all your questions and worries. Not the joy you expected,is it? Why must you leave all the time?

And after a few minutes of quiet reflection, something fierce inside me replies:

Because I can. Because I’m not hurting anybody by doing what I want, maybe only by not doing what I want. Because I’m brave enough to actually listen to my heart and do what it tells me, not what society or other people think I should do. Because I know myself. I know that opportunities to be in the wind become fewer and fewer as I get older. Because I know I’ll regret not going when I had the chance. Because I don’t want to wait for other people to be ready to join me. They may never be ready. I don’t want to wait forever. I’m ok on my own.

And although there’s no place like home, home isn’t always where you’re meant to be. I will always have a home to go home to, because my family loves me. And they will still love me even if I’m not physically with them. They love me so much that all they want is my happiness, and if my happiness takes me elsewhere, then so be it. (Family, please correct me if I’m wrong!)

Because the world is there to be discovered, to be experienced, to be “lived”. Because I can push these worries out of my head and live my life in spite of them. Not because they become lessened, but because life will never be without worry.

So go, and be at peace with it, I tell myself.

travelling heart

And Back to Italy She Goes

Not Just Another "Dolce Vita"

Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life.” — Anna Akhmatova

What have I been doing in the last few weeks since I haven’t been blogging, you ask? Well, let me tell you:

1. I’ve been working on other writing projects for Panoram Italia Magazine.

2. I’ve been finishing up the first part of the Teaching English as a Second Language course that I’ve enrolled in, in hopes that it’ll give my career a bit of a boost. (If you’re wondering why my career needs boosting, click here to read the post about how I got kindly ousted from my most recent lavoro).

3. I’ve been looking for a job. Need to feed my salvadanaio (piggy bank).

4. And last but not least, I’ve been trying to find a way to get back to Italy. Obviously.

So how did I do? Sono riuscita. I succeeded. In all of it.

Articles to be published in April? Check.

Part 1 of TESL course passed? Check.

Found a job? Check.

Found a job that is interesting to me? Check.

Found a job that is interesting to me and pays me to go to Italy? Check, Check, Check!

Needless to say, I’m pretty happy with the way life is going right now. I’ve still got a bit of time (73 days, but who’s counting?!) before I leave again for bella Italia but the fact that I know I’m going placates my Italylust just a little bit.

So what is this lavoro dei sogni (dream job) that I’ve landed?

I’m going to be the Program Manager for a study abroad program to Italy. Bello, no? (Nice, eh?) Now, I’m sure it won’t all be Prosecco and la dolce vita – I will be working, you know – but it’ll be a great experience all the same.

I’m sure this next sojourn in Italy will provide me with much more fodder for Not Just Another “Dolce Vita”, and I’ll be sure to chronicle the best of my (mis)adventures for you right here!

The Roman Forum

The Roman Forum

Viva Las Vegas – Part 1

Not Just Another "Dolce Vita"“Bright light city gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire.” – Viva Las Vegas, Elvis Presley

I’ve decided that Las Vegas is a place everyone should visit at least once in their life, and not just because I happened to double my money while I was down there! The lights, the shows, the restaurants, the hotels, the interesting characters, the history – it all adds up to make a very worthwhile few day vacation. As you know, readers, I was there between Christmas and New Year’s this past year and it was a great time to go. There were lots of shows going on and the weather was perfect for walking the Vegas strip. Mind you, there were also a TON of people there, but I guess that’s to be expected any time.

We had the pleasure of staying at the Venetian Hotel, which was lovely. Inside the place is decorated very elegantly, and they’ve even recreated St. Mark’s Square and the Grand Canal, complete with gondolas and gondoliere. You almost felt like you were in Italy. Plus, my room was equipped with the most comfortable, plush, marshmallowy bed I’d ever slept in. Between eating expensive food (Starbucks is the cheaper option around there) and trying our luck in the casinos, we took in three shows: Elvis impersonator Trent Carlini (I LOVE Elvis, by the way), the musical Jersey Boys, and the (amazing)  singing ventriloquist Terry Fator. We managed to snag discounted same day and next day tickets for the shows from the various Half Price ticket sellers along the strip. We went to the one closest to the Ventian, just down the strip beside the always-packed Denny’s.

We spent our days walking the strip, checking out the other hotels, and visiting the casinos. We had Margaritas (yum!) in Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, went to a shooting range, visited a “classy” jewelry pawn shop and also visited the Mob Attraction. Mob Attraction? Yeah, like THE Mob. Like Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Siegel and the boys who helped put Vegas on the map. Las Vegas’ history is inextricably linked with that of the Mob. For someone (moi) who considers The Godfather one of her all time favourite books and movies, this was very interesting.

So enough with the words – Las Vegas is a feast for the eyes and ears. Here are some photos of my little trip:

Suite at the Venetian

Suite at the Venetian


Venetian Hotel - Outside

Venetian Hotel – Outside


Venetian Mask Shop

Venetian Mask Shop

Gondolas on the Grand Canal

Gondolas on the Grand Canal

Discounted Ticket Selle for Shows - Made use of them!

Discounted ticket seller – Made use of them!

Elvis Impersonator Trent Carlini

Elvis Impersonator Trent Carlini


Ventriloquist Terry Fator + Winston the Impersonating Turtle

Ventriloquist Terry Fator + Winston the Impersonating Turtle

More photos of the Vegas strip, the Mob Attraction and other Vegas hotels to follow in

Viva Las Vegas – Part 2.