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I didn’t realize I needed a break until about noon today when my foot started tapping and I was checking the clock every few seconds awaiting the moment I could turn on my Out of Office reply and turn off my computer. It may be a sign that I’ve waited too long to take more than a day off, but it’s here and I ain’t looking back.

Tomorrow morning I leave for Florence and meet some friends from the US for four days touring around the Tuscany region of Italy. Not bad, eh? My first trip to Europe was in 2008 with my mom, uncle, and a couple of their friends. We spent a few days in Rome and made a day trip to Florence to see the sights. The whole city seemed to be shut down for one of the big soccer tournaments that summer and a few hours wasn’t enough to get everything in anyway so I’m looking forward to a few more days there.

After indulging in all the Italian food my stomach can hold (pasta, pasta, and more pasta) and filling the spaces in between with wine (red, white, more red, more white) I say goodbye to my fellow Americans and jet set to Mallorca to meet my European friends for vacation part two. If the theme of part one is pasta and wine, part two will be sea and sand. On Saturday we will meet up at our seaside apartment/hotel for a couple days in the sand. Monday we set sail for five days in the Mediterranean, making our way from Mallorca to Alicante with a stop in Ibiza somewhere in the middle. To me, this part seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime trip and was irresistible.

I’ve never been sailing for more than an hour trip on a catamaran and I’m really looking forward to this experience. Most of all, I am looking forward to being completely disconnected for at least five days. No work, no email, no Facebook, no phone, no nothing. Just people, together, talking, living. I need this, probably more than I know. So, if this is the last blog post for a couple of weeks don’t worry. I’m somewhere south, soaking up the sun, feet in the sand or the sea, loving life. Please, don’t feel so sorry for me. Someone has to live like this.

Though I may have waited a bit too long to take an extended break, the timing is probably spot on. The last few months of the year are panning out to be extremely busy and I’m starting to plan a trip back to the US to visit friends and family over Christmas and New Years. Which brings me to the answer to the new question I’ve been getting a lot lately: Are you staying?

Yes, I am staying. The details have yet to be worked out, but I’ve been offered an extension on my contract in Amsterdam and there wasn’t a second thought in my mind about what I want to do. I want to stay. I have thoroughly enjoyed the last 10 months here and though I’ve done a lot, the list of things I want to do only gets longer. Europe is big. And then there’s Africa. And Asia. I can’t turn around and leave just yet. The blog will keep going, the air miles will keep accumulating. But for now, it’s time to disconnect.

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