2006: Endings and Beginnings

Home is a place and a state of mind, I find, especially after a long absence. While I do love traveling, I equally love returning to the familiarity and security of my own roof, my own bed. My return flight from London was uneventful; on the taxi ride to Falls Church, as always, I was taken by just how green Virginia is this time of year. I’m now sorting through the post-trip wreckage of dirty laundry, maps, guidebooks, and  travel gear to be cleaned and put away.
Venice, Florence, Rome, Paris, London: all unique places with signature art, geography, and temperaments; all well worth visiting. I think the general travel experience would be enlarged by traveling with an SO (Significant Other) but I can’t pass up the opportunity to go to these places just because I lack one. Life is too short, my friends, too short.
Five flights, five train trips, five cities, three countries, two currencies, and one passport. I’ve pretty much mastered the logistics of international travel by now and so had the right-sized suitcase, the right clothing combinations, and the right schedule to make things go smoothly. The mechanics of this trip were never a concern and that’s a good thing on foreign turf. It’s also something I’ve arrived at not by any great wisdom, just by sheer experience and, probably, luck.
These blog entries were often made under time constraints as I tried to get my doings down digitally before using up my minutes at one Internet Cafe or another. I tried to avoid making them simple lists of I-went-here and I-saw-that but in this I don’t think I always succeeded. I decided not to drag a laptop along to Europe in order to save carry-on baggage weight and the attendant mental security overhead but having one along would have allowed me to compose my blog entries in places and at times that might have encouraged more reflection. This is a long way of saying that I’m sorry if the narrative got a bit dry here and there.
No one knows how the future will look back on these times but it seems to me as if we’re turning a page; the old world with its paintings, books, and sculpture – all very "hands-on" – is being slowly eclipsed by the new digital world. This begs the question about how the future will value old artifacts: will they be revered more as reminders of our humanity or be rendered meaningless to generations raised on text messaging and the ubiquity of the Internet?
I, obviously, find a strong and important human connection to the beautiful things from the past that have been created with relatively primitive tools. And, alone or accompanied, I recommend them to you as examples of human expression and genius that everyone needs to experience firsthand. Perhaps we can read your travel blog next? If so, be sure to send me the URL!
Thanks, dear reader, for coming along with me on this and my earlier journeys. I’m not sure what the fate of this blog is at the moment but I will not take it down for now. I think it could benefit from a little proof reading at this point. Thanks to all of you who have sent me encouragement and your own recommendations; they were greatly appreciated. For now, ciao, au revoir, and so long.

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