By the time you read this week’s essay I’ll be in Los Angeles.

This time I’m flying from Brisbane via Vancouver to LA with no time to stop and catch up with friends in Van…

Although Vancouver is one of my favorite places to visit and explore I have super tight timelines as in the coming week the company I work for is closing two locations, and opening a new one.

Hence, I’ll be on the ground ensuring that we have a solid plan in place to meet all our move deadlines from a technical perspective.

As you can imagine the technology portion is often the last thought in any move, and so there is much to be done.

Certainly, interesting challenges ahead – that I can guarantee!

The great news is that my daughter Sam will be able to come down to LA for a few days.  She’s on her final reading week of her undergrad so it worked out well.

Sam and I were able to spend time together this time last year during one of my visits to the West Coast. We had so much fun exploring Los Angeles together.

Sam has her finger on the pulse when it comes to great places to eat.  Last year we discoverd a couple of absolute gems!

I’m excited to see what she has in store for us this time around.

There is one place I’m keen to try La Casita Mexicana at 4030 East Gage Ave which surprisingly isn’t too far from work.

It’s so important to take these opportunities to spend time together like we did when Judy and I were in New York City in October last year and Sam came down for the weekend.

If time permits, I also need to get over to NYC for a day or two as I to sort out some things in our office there as well.

I’m hoping to get a chance to spend time with Judy’s mum and dad on Long Island, even if it’s just for an overnight.

Soon after I get back, we’ll in our final prep mode for our three-week adventure in Italy…

We’re both so excited, especially as we’re also both using Duolingo to learn Italian.

Okay, so I’m obsessed with improving my Italian and have been staying up late at night to study.

Unfortunately for me I don’t have an ear for languages but I’m hoping that by the time I get back from the US when I’ve had a lot of time on a plane to practice, I’ll be a little more understandable.

Vedremo (We’ll see) …

Yes, three glorious weeks starting in Rome, then south to Naples, the Amalfi Coast before heading into Puglia and the Adriatic coastline north to Pescara and then Tuscany.

Our five-day stay in Tuscany will first be at a vineyard near Siena before moving onto Florence (Firenze).

For our final leg we’re heading down the coastline of the Tyrrhenian sea back to Rome before flying home.

I’ve always believed that exploring on your own terms is best, hence that is why I’m renting a car and driving.

The beauty of this is that we can explore what we want, whenever we want.  We can leave the main roads and explore hill towns and villages and meander our way to our next destination at whatever speed we want.

The most important thing is to have a place to stay booked in advance, after that you can take as much, or as little time as you want exploring.

And, if in the unlikely case (not) of wanting to sit and have an afternoon aperitif in an ancient village then you can.

This aspect will be taken full advantage of during our trip.

As part of Judy’s Valentine’s gift this year I’ve also arranged a number of special activities during our trip to Italy.  I will share after our trip as I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I know she’s going to love each of them.

As I’ve said many times before, life is about experiences and enjoying and savouring each of these individual moments to last a lifetime.

Particularly when you share these with someone you love.

It’s a bummer that Judy has work otherwise she could have come with me to LA and NYC, but hopefully in subsequent trips this may be possible.

As you can see my next couple of months is brimming with activity, which is just the way I like it.

And although I’ll be away for a couple of weeks leading up to our trip, I know that when we get on that plane headed to Italy then all of the stress and time apart will evaporate.

It will be then time to create a whole new set of shared memories.

So, looking ahead to this year what do you have planned in terms of adventures?  What activities or experiences are you looking forward to?

I personally find that looking forward to something helps my outlook on life.

It energizes me with anticipation and excitement… no matter how far in advance I’ve planned it.

Until next week