Thursday, March 31, 2011

Just Go!

I am happy making lots of travel plans over the next few weeks.

This Sunday, my friend E and I will be in DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival! I love DC at its most beautiful, with the trees in bloom. [Pictures to come!] There's an outdoor Japanese cultural event and a Japanese art exhibition at the Freer we'd like to hit. Plus possibly an exhibition of works of art depicting my Venice at the National Gallery. I think it's an unspoken rule that we hit the Au Bon Pain in Union Station for breakfast. And we'll probably eat out for lunch. Any suggestions? I think that'll be a pretty full day... A sunny day too, following a week of gray skies and rain.

I get to depart for my beloved Philadelphia on my birthday! I just booked Amtrak tickets (a luxury yes, but driving on my birthday? No.) departing the morning of April 15th and returning the morning of April 16th. My friend L and I share the same birthdate, so we'll celebrate together and with whoever else we can get! L and I enjoy the ethnic dinner. Maybe French this year?

i LOVE philadelphia!

And that Saturday evening, I go out to drinks and dinner with friends in downtown Annapolis. My college roommate and her husband are driving three hours to help me celebrate! I think it may be a very full table, we'll see... I can hardly wait!

On Sunday, I'll share an Italian feast with family-- my immediate family of five and my maternal grandparents. Lasagna bolognese and my specialty-- penne with lots of vegetables. Like a true Italian, I'll be sure to share about everything that was served. Maybe I'll hit the Italian Market in Annapolis for wine and food... like prosciutto crudo! Maybe bread and olive oil too! Mmm...

Before my trip to Italy, I had been pretty boring. I wasn't going on trips like the ones mentioned above because I was saving for Italy, which was so beyond worth it! I also truly enjoy going out to dinner. Before I bought the airfare in October, I would dine in restaurants once or twice a week. The six months I was on a budget, however, I think I ate out once a month, ...that I paid for anyway. I found that I enjoyed it more because it was an occasional treat. Plus I truly splurged, I would go all out on two or three courses and a drink, spending $35. Back when I was eating out multiple times a week, I would choose the cheapest thing on the menu if I were also ordering an adult beverage and spend $20. If I only spent $20 a week for a month, that's $80 and much more expensive than my once-a-month satisfying splurge. ...and I was going out more than 4 times a month! I also didn't go out so much those six months. I would often find myself sitting at home on a Friday night, giving myself a pedicure in front of an episode of What Not To Wear. Again, worth it... Do you think I'd remember sitting in the bar at Friday's as fondly as I would my short, sweet little trip to Italy? I think not. Plus it was only five and a half months. I still had a good time over those winter months. I walk with a friend once a week and don't spend a dime doing that! I've even done girls nights on the cheap. And Miss Independent over here even let the guy pay for the date sometimes!

Going back to Italy was important to me. Who am I kidding?! I hadn't been in four years and had to have it! Talking about travel all day at my old job, talking about other people's trips, it was time for me to have an exciting international excursion of my own. And since finances were my main obstacle with a really low paying job, I made sacrifices to make it happen. I stopped going out all the time. In addition, I designed the trip itself to be budgeted. (J did immensely help me out and add to my trip by paying for so many things.) There are so many people out there who dream of places and never go. I just hope I can help someone out there with my story so they are inspired to make it happen for themselves. Trust me, it's so worth it!

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