Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I don't get out much.

To travel that is. I didn't get on a single plane between 1996 and 2005. I had three kids in that period of time, mind you, but no flights.

Part of me wishes I had traveled more before I had my kids because I don't like leaving them, but part of me thinks that traveling less has given me more of an opportunity than more frequent flyers to both anticipate and afterticipate travel. Because, oh baby, do I ever.

Anticipating a trip is a fun challenge. Choosing a location, scouting out information about the destination, planning an itinerary. There are many travel guides and books to help you do just that.

Afterticipating a trip is something I've never heard anyone talk about at all. (And not just because I coined the term!)I'm glad I don't travel often because I have the opportunity to savour a trip afterwards, for days, weeks, months and yes, years.

A year ago today, for instance, I was in Florence, Italy. Or, more accurately, in the countryside outside Florence, being driven by a woman my age who inherited a castle and returned to Italy to run cooking classes. We traded maple syrup for olive oil. We learned to make ravioli, we drank fresh, lip-puckering, throat-warming red vino. We took the bus home and were asked by tourists if we were locals.

So, what am I doing today? Making ravioli and afterticipating.

Afterticipating means a number of things to me. In 1992, we were given free flights to Australia where my husband and I spent a month, staying in every level of accommodation imaginable and having a terrific adventure. For months afterwards, when we were bored or driving somewhere, I would suddenly say, "I'm thinking of somewhere in Australia," and he would gamely guess where.

I've seen and heard friends go through photos from a trip with different people, giving the exact same travelogue every single time. I wonder whether they realize they have reduced their trip to the few sentences they always say, remember only the places they have photos of. Playing the Australia game, remembering the obscure moments and details of a place, secures its place in your memory in a visceral way.

Afterticipating is also the ravioli. We spent 10 days in Italy. These ten days I am trying to recreate, just briefly. I sent flowers to my husband - the yellow mimosas I was given at a restaurant on International Women's Day in Italy. I bought a tub of lemon gelato, as cold and frosty white as snow, but warming to remember when we first had some, our first sunny morning in the Santa Croce Piazza. I considered buying incense to remember the church we visited - but we didn't like it then either.

The risk of afterticipating is failing to savour the present. My son said to me last night, "if I dwell on the past, I will have nothing good to dwell on in the future." Smart kid. But I'm not stuck in Florence or anywhere else. One of the remarkable things that occurred to me in my nostalgia this week was that last year I missed the glory that is late winter here in Waterloo and that this year I get a chance to enjoy it fully.

So, even though a little bit of me wishes I could hold the moments of a good trip in time, I'm not stuck at a point in the past. But neither have I dismissed it to go on to more and more new trips. I'm just taking a few moments to reflect, to raise a glass of wine, to remember, to afterticipate.

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