Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Going To Italy

I am going to Europe again, specifically northern Italy, and then southern Greece. I have been to Milan many times, and I love that part of Italy. Yet in all the times I have been there, I have yet to go to Florence or Pisa. This trip I plan on doing both, with a possible side trip to the impossibly wheelchair inaccessible Cinque Terre. Athens will follow, possibly with a trip to Santorini too. It is a wonderful idea.

For me this is like a dream. It all came about unexpectedly, without real intent or hope of actually doing it. I have long wanted to go back to Italy one more time. So the other day when a friend of mine said she had too much holiday time left and had to find a way to use it, I jokingly said "Wanna go to Italy?" Imagine my surprise when she said "Sure, I would love to go to Italy." So last night we got together and talked about what it might be like, how much it would cost, and how we could make it happen.

Since she is working, it has been decided that I will come up with a general sort of plan, with specific location targets and ideas of where we might go. It means I will be doing the research, something I love to do, and coming up with a plan, something else I love to do. I'm not sure what will be more fun, planning the trip or actually doing the trip. Both will bring me great excitement and joy. Whether or not the trip comes off exactly as planned matters little, for me the great joy will be simply returning to Milan, and hopefully going to Bergamo, a place I think is the most lovely on earth.

When they talk about progression in ALS, one of the things they talk about is "reasons to live". I have many reasons to live; this is one of them, the opportunity to travel. This may be my last major trip although I must confess that I would also like to go to Thailand in the fall, assuming I am strong enough. No matter, I can still dream of it. I will endure almost any kind of difficulty to make and adventure like this work. Wheelchair access will be limited, there will be many things barred from me. Yet simply making this voyage will be wonderful enough.

I continue to live in a daze, surrounded by amazing people who will do wonderful things for and with me, both large and small. I am constantly surprised and uplifted by their generosity, spiritual and practical. For an able bodied person to agree to go with me on a trip like this, that takes some courage and willingness, an understanding of my limitations, and a sense of adventure. I am excited.

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