What do you do for a living?? I TRAVEL!!!!

Yesterday began the start of another adventure. After a 3 month pit stop in Monaco to refuel my travel funds, I packed up my dusty suitcase and headed back on the road towards the beautiful Tuscany region of Italy. It occurred to me somewhere between hauling my over packed suitcase, trying to decipher the train schedules and new language once I crossed the border, and the exhausting 12 hours it took me to finally get to my destination, that this traveling stuff is hard work!!! And as the question often gets asked about what I do for living (besides my little pit stops working in boats and hostels) I realized the answer yesterday. I travel! Which actually, if you look at the origin of the word means “work or suffering.”

Now I’m not expecting you to feel sorry for me as I sit here sipping on a macciato admiring the beautiful city of Florence, but as with any “job” there a pros and cons and some sacrifices you make to get to do something that you really enjoy. Let’s just take sleep for example. The other night I was up til nearly 6 a.m. with the arduous task of planning out all of my upcoming trips. Checking out flights and train schedules, looking at hostel and hotel reviews, reading up about places and activities to do while I’m there, the list goes on. Yes, I suppose I could hire a travel agent to work everything out, but who knows better of what I really want than me? And the excitement of it all kept snowballing until I looked out the window to see that the sun was already coming up. Oh well, who needs sleep, really?

And then comes the annoying task of packing. How do you fit your life into the contents of a bag? This isn’t a vacation where I can just pack a few t-shirts and undies and my toothbrush. Yes, you can always pick up things along the way (which is what I have been doing) and then all of a sudden you have to look at what you’ve acquired and simplify again. The high-heeled wedges I picked up in Tel Aviv for a girls night out (as sexy as they were) unfortunately had to be left behind. I have no closet to put things aside for next season, and when you are changing back and forth between climates (Scandinavia one week, Portugal and Morocco the following) you can hardly wear the same thing. Of course, I could always change the itinerary around and stay in areas where the weather is more closely matched, but sometimes when you find cheap air fare (60 euros to go to Sweden this month with Ryan air) I’m willing to put up with a slightly heavier bag to make room for the long pants and winter coat (which I will probably remove from my suitcase as soon as I hit the beaches of sunny Portugal again.) And the workout of carrying that ridiculously heavy pack around is what allows me the ability to get my fill of gelato and pasta as I eat my way through Italy.

Yes, there are bumps and frustrations along the way. Missed train connections (when the train you are riding on won’t let you off) railway strikes, long rides on crowded buses (carrying the ridiculously heavy pack and trying not to hit the old woman sitting behind you on the bus,) getting lost in a new city trying to find your accommodations and then not being able to finally get that much-needed sleep because of the disco playing music next door until sunrise. Yesterday was a hard day of “work.” And now as I sit on the terrace, listening to the chiming of bells from the cathedral and admiring the view of the beautiful city below me, I think of the “work” that needs to be done today. Museums to see, art to admire, towers to climb, new connections to make. Yes, it’s going to be another busy day at the office. I might need to put in a request for some vacation time soon.

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