My upcoming trip to Europe is growing more ambitious, or, maybe it would be more accurate to say that it’s getting out of hand. Originally, I had thought I would be traveling for about a month and a half. At this point, I’m looking at around two and half months, beginning around the start of September. The original plan was to fly into Paris and spend a few days there. Then I would go up to Normandy for a few days before returning to Paris for a single day and then working south to Lyon and then Nice. From there I would go to Milan for a day before going down to the Cinque Terre and then cutting over into Tuscany. Then I would go back north to the Veneto for a day or two before going to Venice and from there take the ferry to Croatia and travel down the Dalmatian coast to Dubrovnik. After that I would fly to Istanbul and after a few days in Istanbul I would probably return to Paris for the return back to America.

This plan was a good one, but the more I studied and mapped out my route it became increasingly clear that 1.5 months was not nearly enough. The more I read, the more places got added to the itinerary. Some of these places are just day trips from the town I’ll be staying in, but they add on a day to the amount of time spent in that city. Others are new places I that I want to stay at least one night in to more fully experience them. Another factor adding time to this trip is that while I am trying to visit as many new places as I can, some places I traveled to on my last journey demand another visit. I went to Florence on my last trip so I figured I would do Sienna this time for my home base in Tuscany, but I really want to do Florence again, if only briefly, so now I’m thinking of adding one to two days in Florence.

At the same time, a few places have been cut from the list for being too far out of the way or because I judged that the time spent there could be better spent elsewhere. I had originally been thinking of going to Rome in-between Tuscany and the Veneto, but now I’m leaning towards cutting it out as I got in a good visit on my last trip and don’t feel the need to come back to it just yet. In France I considered going out to Brittany but it would be too much time and effort to get out there and then get back on track with the rest of the journey. It’s no fun making cuts like this, but you have to balance your idealism with some realism when planning a trip like this.

Looking towards the end of the trip, the big question is where to go after Istanbul. At this point I am looking at flying from Istanbul to somewhere else in Europe and then making my way back to Paris from there. At first I thought of Rome, but it became clear that this would result in a lot of backtracking and passing through places I had already visited. Now I’m thinking Madrid, or Barcelona if time is short. Central, Northern or Eastern Europe could also work, but I think those regions are best grouped together on their own separate journey.

As for when the journey ends, I would love to just keep going but I’m well aware that I need to end it around mid November. I travel very light and I won’t be outfitted for the dropping temperatures at the end of fall and early winter. There’s also the fact that I would have to leave the EU’s Schengen Area after 90 days since I’m traveling without a visa. And, of course, the money issue. I travel cheap but even traveling cheaply costs money and I don’t have an unlimited supply of it. At some point I just have to call it quits and come home. But then again, not seeing everything on one trip is a good incentive to plan another one in the future.

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