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In just a few weeks, I will be inĀ Italia, land of lovers and linguine. The first week, I will hike the Dolomite mountains with my friend, Debbie, then will meander on my own for a few days (location TBD at this point), then spend a week at a yoga retreat. I’ll round the trip out by connecting again with Debbie (and a friend of hers) as well as Cordula, my long-time friend from Germany in Venice for a few days. Whew! What a trip. And so as the clock ticks, I make packing lists of what essentials to fit in…

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My first major trip was the standard college tour around Europe, weighed down with my backpack. At the time, I thought that would be my only opportunity to seeĀ all of Europe, so I did just that. I didn’t even bother unpacking, because I’d move from a city within a couple of days. It was exhausting. Since then, travel has taken a precedent in my life (obviously. You’re reading my travel blog!). I now don’t view any trip as my only opportunity to explore a place, and so my philosophy about travel has changed. In 2010, we took a family trip…