February 1, 2012

Rome. November, 1986

I value my private time when I travel. If I’m in Rome, I want to be among Romans, to speak and hear Italian. The same applies in Istanbul, Lisbon, Barcelona. I’m on vacation to be “away.” I want to get lost in the alleyways of Venice, the markets of Montreal, the medina of Tangier. Fortunately much of my travel has been solo. And at other times, my infrequent companions have (mostly) understood and indulged my preference. I don’t have to be on my own all of the time. But some of the time, yes. I need to escape anonymously into the city with my camera, to stop whenever I want, to be unconcerned about anyone else. And then to meet up for dinner. I live alone and I’m used to the wonderful luxury of time I have to think, to be silent. It’s one reason I have always avoided guided tours, why I was apprehensive for so many years about signing up for a cruise. (The Windstar cruises Jay and I’ve taken have mercifully provided ample opportunities for solitude. The upcoming group trip to Cuba, my fingers are crossed.)

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