Friday, October 6, 2006

I'm going to Italy in two weeks. I know this because I bought my plane tickets last night, and they're non-refundable. I am excited, in case you were wondering, but also more than a little anxious since I've got sixteen days to fill, no idea where I'm going to sleep, and a nagging fear that I'll be sold into white slavery while overseas. Always the optimist.

But it's been years and years and years since I've been on vacation anywhere more exotic than Connecticut — if Cape Cod counts, then it's merely been years and years — and I'm looking forward to not being... here, to being a tourist, language difficulties aside. Here in New York, where we're overrun with tourists like pigeons, they're good for nothing but getting on my nerves. Worse than pigeons, in fact: at least the birds will get out of your way if you're about to step on them. Tourists are oblivious, and I can't wait till I can partake in the luxury of taking pictures of something banal and mundane, like the scores of Japanese tourists we got at Columbia going home with digital photos of the Alma Mater statue. Or blocking the sidewalk traffic trying to figure out which way to hold the map, or holding up a line at a boutique cashier because I'm paying with a traveler's check.

My hope is that I'll be able to muster that indifference that's so infuriating to the locals; it's not something that comes naturally to me. Which is sort of why I'm going in the first place. Fine, I'll admit that maybe, on the list of reasons to travel abroad, personal development comes in second place to out-vacation-photoing my friends, who, as predicted, won't be coming with me and adding to their photo albums. But I've heard that there's no better way to learn about yourself than visiting a foreign country alone where you don't speak the language. (My Italian proficiency peaked around tenth grade, which is odd, since I took Italian through the end of eleventh grade....) I'm a little to afraid of what I'll find out about myself, but I have little doubt that it'll be nothing if not blog-worthy.