In Praise of Impractical Adventures


Five years ago, almost to the day, my wife and I were reluctantly packing our bags to return home from nearly a month in Italy.

Lisa was invited to participate in a printmaking program in Florence. I tagged along for the ride, working half days from an apartment we rented, and exploring the city and museums each afternoon.

On Lisa’s days off, we savored the Tuscan countryside together. We did romantic weekends in Rome and Cinque Terre. We hired a driver who took us for a madcap day trip to Amalfi and Positano.

At the time, it seemed like such an impractical adventure. (Friends: “You’re going where—for how long?”) But I still got work done, we managed to pay our bills, and the memories are as fresh as the seafood in Manarola on a summer afternoon.

Moreover, I had one of the most productive and creative fall and winter seasons of my career, buoyed by the experience.

As the final days of summer wind down, I realize that (once again) I should have taken more time off before work and school crank up again after Labor Day. I promise not to let another five years pass before Lisa and I set off on another sensationally impractical adventure.

Photo: Yes, many Italians do take off all—or much—of August. It was not uncommon to see signs like this one in shop windows throughout our trip. Chiuso Per Ferie means Closed for Vacation.