One month from this very moment, I will be strolling through a piazza in Italy.
Well, maybe not at this exact moment, but my feet will be on Italian soil and I will likely have consumed several cappuccinos, multiple glasses of Barolo and numerous scoops of gelato by this point while taking in sights and all that is Italiana.
I’m so excited about the trip. I honestly feel like a little kid on Christmas Eve. If I think about it before bedtime I can’t sleep. If I allow myself to daydream about the trip, I suddenly realize that I’m gesturing more when I talk and I’ve affected a slight Italian accent. It’s becoming a real distraction.
It was one thing to read about the country for the last six months, learning about the areas we’ll be traveling and dabbling in the language, but it is quite another to be within a month of wheels up.
Because as much as I can’t wait to be there, right now I’m faced with the daunting task of figuring what to pack and how on earth I’m going to fit it all in one wheeled carry-on suitcase.
Let’s be honest. Packing is the most difficult thing about taking a trip. It’s the unknown that gives me pause. What will the weather be? What will we be doing? What will I really need? What will my hair do in that climate? How can I wear a comfy walking shoe without looking like an ugly American tourist?
I think the elimination of the fanny pack will help with that last item, but seriously, it’s a real challenge to attempt a stylish look while still being comfortable and practical. And “practical” is the kiss of death for shoe. That single word brings up the vision of a hideous, orthopedic-inspired foot cover made for monks traveling great distances in the Himalayas. Or suburban moms.
I can’t abide that, people. This is Italy, after all. The land of beautifully dressed women walking in gorgeous stiletto pumps made right there in their homeland. Now, I know I can’t attempt that. I believe only those of Italian heritage can actually master the skill of safely navigating a skinny 4-inch heel on ancient cobblestone and as far as I know there isn’t a drop of Italian blood in me. But I don’t want to look like a schlump.
So as with most daunting tasks, overcoming it started with research and shopping. I find most seemingly insurmountable tasks can be solved with these two actions.
So I powered up the Google machine and started in. I checked average temperatures and weather patterns for various locations in Italy for October. Hmm. Could be sunny and 70 degrees or raining and 50. Sounds like September in the Vail Valley this year. Layers and an umbrella, check.
Pinterest quickly became my best source for ideas. The electronic bulletin board was full of different ideas for the best items to pack and the best way to get them all into the suitcase. I spent hours reading all the various lists of basic essentials, how to use scarfs to jazz up two tops and a pair of pants and make 42 different outfits, the best techniques and fabric choices for washing and drying clothes in a hotel bathroom, folding and rolling techniques and other gems of packing wisdom. Knowledge is power, people.
Armed with the information, and the decision to start with a base of can’t-go-wrong black, I moved forward and made the packing list. Oh, how I love a good list.
Surprisingly, I had a great number of things perfect for the trip already in my closet. But of course there were things to be sought out and purchased. What trip doesn’t start with shopping?
To me, it is both fun and satisfying to find the perfect jacket or pair of shoes that is both versatile and functional but also looks great. Or that top that really can make several outfits and look fabulous and wrinkle-free at the same time. I’m getting a rush of endorphins just thinking about it!
With a stack of boxes on my front porch and piles of potential packing items around my house, I remembered that preparing and planning for a trip is a fun part of the whole experience. So, really, my Italy adventure has already begun! Molto bene!
Linda Stamper Boyne, of Edwards, can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org.