The Perfect Trip: 36 Countries in 36 Months

The end of April is fast approaching, and because of tax time, Easter, and a delightful visit from my friend Jane from England, I have skipped SO MANY prompts in the BootsnAll 30-day travel writing & art project. So it’s time to mix it up and respond to some prompts randomly! Out of order! Like a literary madwoman!

(I’m usually such an organized girl–it’s nice to be a little unruly for a change.) So:

Prompt #26 in the BootsnAll #indie30 project:

What is your idea of the perfect trip?

Be it ever so crumbled, there's no place like Rome. Or like 35 other capital cities that I want to be in.

Be it ever so crumbled, there’s no place like Rome. Or like 35 other capital cities that I want to be in.

A year and a half ago, I got to celebrate the culmination of a six-year international paperwork odyssey that led to a splendid conclusion:

Dual citizenship with the US and Italy. This brings me joy every time I think about it. Because of my family background, I’ve always been Italian jure sanguinis: “by right of blood.” Europe has always been in my heart, as well. But having your citizenship officially recognized is like marrying your long-time lover: you always knew it was the real thing, but now the government knows it, too.

And Italian citizenship, of course, also means that I’m a citizen of the European Union. Twenty-eight nations whisper Come home, Cora! to me on a regular basis.

(Um, I mean that figuratively, of course. I know I just called myself a literary madwoman, but I didn’t mean that in a clinical sense. Political and geographical entities don’t talk, boys and girls.)

(But our deepest desires do.)

So. The perfect trip, if time and money were not a concern, would be to spend 36 months exploring my 36 “other” nations: the 28 that make up the current EU, the 5 candidate countries, and the 3 potential candidates. Slow travel. Seashores and mountains. Food and wine. Cities and villages. Music and art. Theatre and dance. Books! (Mostly in translation…) Blogging as I go. Photographing as I blog. Absorbing the cultures and the languages, celebrating the feast days, meeting the people.

Throwing my arms around the Europe to which I now belong not just emotionally, but legally. Celebrating all the places I can now call home. Perfection.

 

 

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#indie30 Day 2: Child Detectives Sent Me Overseas

Day 1 of BootsnAll’s #indie30 Project was a big ol’ success around Glorious Curious headquarters: my post and tweet were favorited, retweeted, commented on, and reblogged by the splendid members of the BootsnAll community–and Glorious Curious gained several new followers! Many thanks to all of you who looked so kindly on my writing–your interest and support are so greatly appreciated!

Day 2 tries to pin down the inciting event that made you decide that you were going to be a traveler:

When, where, what, and with who is the story of your travel origin?

I decided I would be a traveler because of five fictional children and their jet-setting adventures.

I was six years old–my hair in pigtails, my nose in a book, and my mom and dad had subscribed me to The Happy Hollisters book club. The Hollisters were five brothers and sisters who solved mysteries with the help of their perfect parents, and every month, they and their adventures were delivered directly to my house by our mailman, who dutifully handed over a small brown box bearing a label addressed to me. To me!

One month I tore open the eagerly awaited box to find The Happy Hollisters and the Punch and Judy Mystery nestled inside. There on the dust jacket were the siblings, cobblestones underfoot, mountains in the background, Italian flag hanging from a puppet theatre where a masked figure of Punch was cavorting. This particular escapade, I realized, took the Hollisters to Italy.

Hollisters

 

I had traveled out of the country before–every summer, my parents and my sister and I flew off to northern Quebec to visit my mother’s family. But the Hollisters were crossing an ocean. They were staying in hotels. That was something else again. I headed straight for the couch and began turning pages.

I’m sure the story was perfection for a six year-old. But here’s the funny thing: I remember almost nothing about it. What I do remember, what I clearly remember thinking as I read that book, was this:

It takes an airplane 8 hours to fly from JFK to Rome. You fly overnight. You wake up in Italy. I will do that when I grow up.

And I did. And the first time I did it, I actually thought of the Hollisters as I boarded the plane. And the grown-up me grinned at taking the travel dream of the pigtailed, bookish, six year-old me and making it real. The story was no longer a story–it was my life.