I said it before. I swear I'm never doing this again. I sound suspiciously like Robert Downey Jr. to a judge. But I really, really mean it.
Okay. I love to travel. I think we've established that. I love to plan trips. Half the fun for me is finding that interesting little place on a hill over the ocean nobody else knows about, or the town that had that thing happen I want to investigate, or....well, you get the idea. And since the internet has enabled me to do this from the comfort of my own chair, I've gone mad. Mad, I tell you, mad. I've arranged a 3 week trip to India for a friend's wedding (and quite a bit of book research. I swear, CPAs, that elephant ride will show up in a book). I got to plan a month to England and Ireland that included research in London and the Cotswolds for my series of historical romances, a wonderful trip around Galway and Sligo with my friend Katie as we took her husband Dave's ashes to places there he loved, and a couple of weeks renting a house on Dingle with my writer friends to work.
Now, I'm in Italy. I was coming anyway to the Women's Fiction Festival. Which my family heard me talk about. Which meant that suddenly I tacked on two weeks and 4 more cities, not including all the in-betweens. For five. By train. Do you know how many details that involves? Not just B&Bs, but shuttles, trains, insurance, tours just for the 5 of us. It certainly means that I learned a lot more about Italy, which will help for the books this is helping me write (Dave LOVES Italy). But it also means that I have a billion widgets of info whirling in my brain and four people who are relying on my knowledge of a country I've never been to.
Four people who assured me they'd be happy to go anywhere I took them, but who, when faced with the actual schedule, said things like, “We ARE going to the Pantheon, aren't we?” (the answer, thankfully, was yes). Four people I feel are my sole responsibility in a country where English is, usually, a casual acquaintance.
I even asked my family to learn at least tourist Italian. I assured them that I refused to be their translator, especially in issues of toilet-searches. Of course, I'll believe that when I hear it.
So I sit poised at the moment when I know they're taking off, my last moments of blessed, selfish peace, and I'm telling you right now. I'm never doing this again. It's just too much.
I sincerely hope you'll remind me the next time you see me say, “Guess where I'm taking my family?” Your response is “NOWHERE.”
I just planned 3 weeks in Italy. And I loved it. I get great satisfaction