Anyone who knows me gets that one of my greatest pleasures in life is researching and planning trips. Forget real estate; I should have been a travel agent. Books, maps, blogs, newspaper and magazine articles, and the internet are scoured for months before I even begin to work on an itinerary. Then the extraneous travel details, like playing with the parts of a giant puzzle, fall into place - air travel, ferries, trains, car rental, hotel or rental accommodations, what to see and do...and on and on and on. I love and learn so much from the process.
This year Jim and I had talked about renting an apartment in Rome, my favourite city, for a few weeks. You could spend a year in Rome and not scratch the surface. On our return flight from Italy, conversation turned to spending time next year in Sicily. That was all this inveterate planner needed. With the Godfather’s Theme playing in my brain, books were rapidly purchased and a giant map of Sicily, spread out on the dining room table. Then came Jim’s casual comment! Conversation over coffee the next morning went like this:
Me: You mentioned Scotland last night. I’m not ‘married’ to Sicily yet. Would you rather visit Scotland next year?
Jim: I’d love to return to Scotland. Let me think about it.
Jim, after two seconds had elapsed and with a giant grin: Let’s go back to Scotland!
At this juncture I should mention that over the years Jim and I have travelled extensively in Scotland from the Orkney Islands to the Highlands, from the west coast islands of Mull, Islay and Skye to Edinburgh (in my mind, one of the most beautiful cities in the world). So many scotch distilleries have been visited that we could run tours. We have enjoyed The Fringe, numerous Highland Games and an Edinburgh Tattoo - their Millennial Tattoo, no less!
Already knowing the answer, I asked: So where?
Jim: The Outer Hebrides!
So be it. Sicily and Rome in 2020. Hebridean hopscotch in 2019 and for our 50th Anniversary. I’m very fine with that! The dining room table is now covered in a map of Western Scotland, the Outer Hebridean Islands have been circled, ferry schedules have been printed, books have been ordered and research on the internet has commenced.
Note to self: Better locate your wellies and keep that rain gear handy. 😅 Slainte!