Santo Stefano di Sessanio

A long plane ride recently provided the opportunity to finally see Eat Pray Love.  Like many women who saw the movie or read the book, it made me think about my own Eat, Pray, Love journey which, to be accurate, would be called Eat, Travel, Write.

One of the goals I set for 2010 was to pursue my travel writing dream and to find a course that would help me do this.  Through online research I found a week-long travel writing course offered in Italy. Travel to Italy for a travel writing course?  This was definitely the answer to my prayers. Taking this course, however, meant leaving my family for a week, during school which was something I’d never done. The organization required to make this trip happen – arranging babysitters, carpools, playdates, etc. – was almost enough to make me rethink the course.  In the end, a supportive husband and a great network of friends put my mind at ease and allowed me to take this important step in making my dreams a reality.

Abruzzo, Italy

With the knowledge that my children were well cared for, I packed my laptop and headed to the hills. I felt an instant affinity with Santo Stefano di Sessanio, a fortified town perched on an Italian hillside 50 miles east of Rome, which after a devestating earthquake in 2009 was in the process of restoration and renewal, much like I was.  A small, but eager group of aspiring writers – all of whom happened to be women – came from Canada, Italy, Australia, US and of course the Netherlands for instruction on travel writing from the two wonderfully gifted writers who started the program, Helen and Kathryn.  It did not take long to discover, however, that the writing we would do was less about travel than about each of our individual journeys. Where did we come from? Where were we going? What did we hope to find once we arrived at our destination?

We laughed.  We cried.  We wrote. We explored the beautiful region of Santo Stefano. And we ate obscene amounts of deliciously decadent food.  In fact, it was after I returned home from this week of carbo loading that I signed up for my first marathon, thus setting in motion the plan to realize another dream.

By the end of the year my travel writing was going better than I could have imagined.  In addition to continued writing for and starting my own blog, I’d done several guest posts, contributed to an online travel guide and was asked to be a regular contributor to a very successful online travel site (more on that in the upcoming weeks).

My goals for 2011 are simple: more travel, running and writing.

Did you accomplish your goals for 2010? What goals have you set for 2011?