Standing in the hallway at our home a few days ago, I realized that a change was coming.

I was bustling around, doing whatever it is that mothers do in those hours between the end of the work day and bedtime, when I was hit with the most delicious realization that change was afoot. Well into year three of a global pandemic, the prospect of change, any change, is reason to pause and reflect.

It’s been hard to plan or hope or dream too big during the past few years. We’ve all had too many times when anticipated plans have changed, events have been canceled and disappointment has set in again. Humans are a resilient bunch, though, and in that spirit of resiliency, my family and I hatched a plan.

Nearly a year ago, we began talking about a trip to Italy. By “we”, I mean myself, my daughters, my sister, my parents and my brother. My parents were interested in a trip to Italy but weren’t really up for a self guided tour. My girls and I were dying to return to Europe and were only too happy to play tour guide. My sister was easily convinced to join us. We talked and schemed and dreamed. And about six months ago, we cautiously started making definitive plans. We made reservations and put down deposits. We bought travel insurance. We watched Covid ebb and flow locally and around the world. We made contingency plans and figured out what our risk tolerance was.

We bought clothes, packed suitcases, updated passports. I secured car rentals, lodging, dinner reservations, wine tastings and cooking classes. We downloaded maps and made lists of all the places we wanted to go. I created an extensive Italy travel BuJo (more to come later).

Soon, we were less than a week away from our scheduled departure. Excitement was building. It felt surreal to me, this possibility of real travel, real escape, after all this time. I didn’t have a lot of time to sit and dwell on the magic of this, though. I was busy, tying up loose ends at work, getting the house into shape, doing laundry, unpacking and repacking bags. But all the emotions about this were marinating in my subconscious mind. Because as I stood in that hallway that day, preoccupied by my too do list, I realized that a change was coming.

Travel means that we will be changed. Every time. At the onset we don’t know how. But we will be. And that is part of what I love about travel. Yes, I love the adventure, the exploration, the discovery of new places, food, people, customs. And I really love that I come home changed. I come home different, and better, than how I left.

So I stood for a minute in that hallway and relished the prospect of the change ahead of me.