How Do You Measure a Good Vacation? My trip to Italy and France

How do you measure a good vacation?

Is it the sights you’ve seen?

The friends you’ve made?

Or is it that you’re positively thrilled to return to your own routine of work, chores, and friends?

Reconnecting with a dear friend made in Laos

However I measure it, I had a great time. I’m tickled to be back.

After spending three weeks on a frugal trip to Italy and France, I can honestly say it was an unforgettable trip.

Given my propensity to get lost and to break things, travel far away is always a particular risk for me (or the people around me).

Thank you to my hostel mates for filling in the gaps. To the wonderful Costa Rican young man who set aside time to show me the ropes of Paris subways and navigate the way to all the best sites.  To Hakan in Rome who intervened when a creepy staff member starting following and  harassing me. To the gentle, elderly Parisian woman who must have sensed my loneliness and sat with me on an empty subway to share her life story. To my old and very dear friend Popi for bringing me into her life in Trieste, Italy. And to the many, many others.

Venice, Italy

Everyone has a story worth hearing.

For me, it takes removing myself and going far, far, away to make the time-from work, from family, from hobbies, even from writing, to really focus on hearing those stories.

And guess what? I returned under budget, two pounds lighter (no small feat given the countries at hand, and couldn’t wait to re-connect with you.

–Liz

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