Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I've Found Myself! See? I'm Right Here

Back in da day at Disney, my friend Kate complained to me because a guy was going to Europe to "find himself." "What the hell does that mean, anyway?" she asked. I didn't really know, either, but my delayed response was to buy her a button that featured the title above. She found that amusing.

The thing is, I've always thought that way. This trip is not about finding myself or indulging some sort of mid-life crisis. It took two years of planning and has been as methodical an effort as I've made. Hardly the efforts of a middle-aged geek suddenly deciding to drop everything and scoot off to the Continent on the spur of the moment. Mind you I did explain to a couple of people that, having hit 40, I need to do some planning on what to do with the other two-thirds of my life. At least I'll have some leisure time to contemplate, right?

The trip is a reward to myself for three years of hard work in the space business--as a NASA contractor and citizen space advocate. I also wanted to broaden my horizons a bit and take a trip that didn't involve family (sorry) or Disney World. Now mind you, I'll probably come back missing my family and Disney World more than ever, but I owe it to myself to at least go and see and learn and experience for myself.

My friend Jane went to Europe back in the '90s to figure out what she wanted to do with her career, and she came back with a fiance. That's one way of "finding yourself," I suppose. Personally I'm hoping for a statuesque Italian contessa who's her own chef, and owns a villa in Tuscany with an internet hookup, but that's me daydreaming. :-)

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