Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. . . Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. ~ Mark Twain
BEFORE YOU READ THIS: For the record, I am not saying anyone who does not travel is not living or is letting fear take over. Not in the least. We must all live our lives our own way. This is my way.
"Don't get between the plane door and me when the country opens up to Americans," I recently replied when one of my friends asked me when I planned to go to Italy next. I get that question a lot—almost everyday, to tell the truth. My answer is always the same, and most of the time, people laugh. This time, though, the two of the women I was with responded in something akin to horror.
"You're kidding, right?" one of them gasped.
"You're crazy," blurted another. "How can you travel at a time like this?"
"Like what? The virus?" Yes, they assured me, they were talking about the virus and how Europe was having such problems. "We live in Florida," I tried not to snap back. "The situation has not been great here, either."
"Well," one said as she shook her head, "I'm not going anywhere."
That's okay. But, it's also okay that I am going to travel to Italy as soon as I can. I am not afraid.
Here's the thing: I grew up watching my mother cower as my father berated and sometimes hit her. She lost her self-confidence and esteem, and even after his death, she remained a shell of a woman. She was paranoid and always afraid others were criticizing her. She was embarrassed that she was poor, and she was afraid of everyone and everything. I swore I would never be like that, and after college, I moved out of Youngstown as much to get away from that fog of fear that hung over my head as to take a job in Columbus. I could go on and on, but I think you get my drift.
But, back to going to Italy..... The way I look at it is this: The past 15 months have wreaked havoc on this world and, quite frankly, I've had some added crap I would rather forget. While I have always thought that I would do things while I could, and the breast cancer made me more aware that there is going to come a time that I may not be able to do what I want forever.
I'm doing okay. My oncologist found no evidence of disease in my one-year mammogram. Since my cancer was estrogen-positive, I am on medication that supposedly will suppress estrogen production. At times, I suffer from a little fear that the (Insert expletive here) devil will return, but I refuse to let it or anything else have so much control over my life that I do not live it.
In other words, as soon as I can, I'm going to Italy.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi, since taking office in February, has pushed hard for vaccine reform in Europe and Italy. He is caught between Italy's warring parties, one side which has wanted to lift restrictions and open the country for months and the other side that prefers to take a more cautious approach. Draghi has opened Italy to tourism from other European countries last week, and as of yesterday (May 16), he opened it to American tourists with certain requirements. (COVID tests and such).
So, excuse me while I switch out of here and head to check flights.
And don't get between the plane door and me.