Where to next, Hon? is Jim's standard question for me at this time of year. My mind quickly ticks off places to which we have not yet travelled and have thought to visit - Chile and Argentina, Israel, South Africa, Spain, the Czech Republic, Norway............ OMG, the list of possibilities is quite simply overwhelming. We should go to Spain next, I think and then shake my head. Did I just use the word should? Why? To put a tick beside another country? Who am I trying to impress?
Perhaps it is because Jim and I are pushing seventy - egads, when did that happen - but all too frequently, we have dear friends fighting debilitating diseases or passing on. Father Time's clock ticks relentlessly on. Great physical condition appears to mean little. Five years ago a good friend, who religiously jogged fifty to sixty kilometres a week, regularly ran marathons, and appeared to be in top shape, dropped dead. Is that an advertisement for eating well and swimming daily? I wonder.
Jim's, Where to next, Hon? made me stop and ask myself, What if there really was no tomorrow? What if this were to be our last trip? Where to? And so I posed the question to Jim. If you knew ahead of time that this would be our last trip, where would you go? His response was instantaneous. Italy!
Two major, lengthy trips to Italia and we have both fallen in love with the Italian people, their culture, history and art, their food and wines, and mostly, their love of life. Recordati di vivere. Jim and I will, this time, journey where we have not yet travelled - into the land of the mafia, Calabria, and into the land of the trulli, Puglia. Rome may be my personal favourite city in the world, but during our last trip, Venice cast her magical la serenissima spell over Jim, seduced him and stole his heart. He voiced a wish then to live for a week in Venice, to shop at the Realto Market with the locals, to cook in an apartment overlooking the back canals and to wander the magical, tour mob-less streets at nighttime. Life is short. Let it be so!
Today, we booked our air fare for next year and are both beyond excited. Now I have a winter filled with the enjoyment of researching, dreaming and filling in the details. My favourite pastime. Earphones and microphone on, Jim already has already plugged into his Rosetta Stone program. Si, parlo italiano...un po. Will this be our last trip? That is most certainly not in our plans. Next year I hope to again ask, If you knew ahead of time that this would be our last trip, where would you go? But should there be no tomorrows, we will be happy.