Thoughts on packing

Spent some time packing this morning.  I’m breaking with my travel tradition, and am bringing my backpack (as in, backpacking) instead of my trusty Lowe Alpine Voyager 40.  It’s only an extra 10 liters (backpack is 50) but it feels somewhat extravagant.  Oh well though, at least it’s not a roller bag.  I’m not that old yet.

Bringing along a set of Wine Skins on this trip.  It’s a pretty neat little product, to solve a specific need.  They’re big enough that I figure I’ll be able to get two bottles of balsamic in each – family members, start your begging!

I’m debating how much of my own climbing gear to bring. I don’t want to be lugging around too much stuff, since I know I’ll have to hit an outfitter anyways, but a few basics (belay gloves, a handful of quickdraws, etc) seemed prudent.  My Italian, while passable for the important things (“tre fette di pecorino,” “un caffe e un cornetto con crema”) doesn’t extend to climbing gear, so I’m counting on an english-speaking outfitter.  We’ll see!

My other travel norms – I assume I’ll do laundry while over there, so I only pack 5-7 days of clothing.  I’ll pack some Emergency Shorts, but will do my best to stick to proper Italian attire.  I’m going with Kindle+laptop this time, leaving the iPad at home.  Briefly considered going iPad only, but I’ll need to be doing work that will necessitate the full laptop.  At that point, the light weight of the Kindle wins out.

@vexed and @rgun3 were nice enough to loan me a digital dslr for the trip – it’ll be fun to have a Real Camera again, and I’m looking forward to doing some shooting.  Will be interesting to work at getting my eye in.


So, back to Italy

Let me say off the bat that I fully acknowledge that everything I post from this point forward is the ranting of an over-entitled middle class yuppie.

Ok, proceeding with whining about first world problems.  Over the last few years I’ve become a full blown travel junkie.  While lacking the the creativity- and physique-enhancing qualities of heroin (see: Iggy), the travel addiction consumes an unreasonable amount of my mental energy.  My mental list of “must-do” travel destinations stretches on and on – to the point that I often get a little sad, realizing that I’m unlikely to hit them all in my lifetime.

And yet, I’m about to head back to Italy for the fourth or fifth time, in almost as many years. Why’s that?

To me, travel serves many purposes.  While some travelers take a cynical approach to seeing the sights (“gosh, you went to the pyramids while you were in Egypt? What a waste of a day!”), I tend to believe that the sights are sights for a reason.  Experiencing them in person is meaningful.

There’s the cultural side of travel as well – interacting with the global community, experiencing life in a different context, and taking the opportunity to settle in to a place.  For me, Italy, and particularly Florence, is a home away from home.  In this case, I’m not going to Italy to see great art (though there’ll be some of that) or do some capital-s Shopping (there’ll be none of that), but rather to eat, breathe, and enjoy a culture that I value greatly.

This trip will also be a little different, in that I’ll be doing some “adventure” travel.  After checking out Milan, I’m headed into the Dolomites to do some Via Ferrata.  If you’re not familiar with Via Ferrata, check out this primer.  Honestly, I don’t know quite what to expect from it – it may be physically taxing, or it may be a slightly-scary hike.  It may be quiet and lonely, and it may be a rolling party.  I’m guessing there’ll be Germans involved, because you can’t do anything semi-athletic in Europe without running into Germans.

Initially, I landed on a via ferrata climb in an effort to recapture the experience I had on the Camino de Santiago last year.  I no longer expect anything like that experience, and I’m trying to temper my own expectations.  Because via ferrata climbs are typically undertaken either by locals or by groups with a hired guide, there are a variety of logistical issues that I’ve left up to chance – renting gear, having places to stay, and so on.  All part of the adventure.

Do I worry?  Of course not.  I’ve got an iPhone and a credit card.  Everything else can be dealt with.


Nitty Gritty Logistics

If I stop posting for a suspiciously long time, here are the details for how to track down my remains and notify my next of kin.  That’d be Molly I guess.


Flight 1 Sun, Jul 1
Depart 7:30 PM
Minneapolis, MN , United States

Stop 1
10:45 AM
Amsterdam , Netherlands
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines 6064

12:15 PM
Amsterdam , Netherlands

2:00 PM
Milan , Italy
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines 3419

Depart July 17th
6:55 AM
Florence , Italy

9:00 AM
Amsterdam , Netherlands
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines 3412

4:50 PM
Amsterdam , Netherlands

6:55 PM
Minneapolis, MN , United States
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines 6065




Milan – July 2nd to 7th.  July 7th/8th, Lagundo.  July 8-12th, Mountains (near Madonna di Campiglio).  July 12th – 17th, Florence.


Travel Bloggin’

I’ve lost track of how many blog platforms I’ve used over the last 15 years.  Everything from home-spun code to iWeb.  Now, all defunct.  With more travel looming, it seemed appropriate to give another one a try.  Hence, this.

I’m headed to Italy for a couple weeks.  I’ll use this site to let my mom know that I’m still alive.  Any meaningful content is an unintended side effect.

Be warned, I occasionally get introspective.  It’s the nature of the blog platform I suppose.  So, here goes!

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