This year, I'm lucky. For the first time I'm in the northern hemisphere when it is time to go back to school. Unwittingly, we made plans to shift from northern Italy to southern Italy last weekend. Yes, the weekend when all the Italians head home after their summer holidays, ready for the kids to go back to school, and to start work again on Monday. We braced ourselves for the three day drive down the Adriatic Coast, on the autostradas. It was busy, but not bad. Because, like so often in my life, I was not going on the busy road, but on the road less travelled. Yes, we were heading south, when everyone else was heading north. The multi-lane autostradas north were jam-packed with cars, sometimes at a standstill, as we whizzed past at 130 kmph, with plenty of space, heading south into the sun.
And perhaps because I didn't have to deal with friends and colleagues talking about their kids getting back to school, or perhaps it is simply that most of my friends and family have children who have grown (or who are in the southern hemisphere, in the middle of the winter term), I could feel smug about our particular direction.
Sometimes, going in the opposite direction brings freedom, relaxation, wind in our hair (once we got to our destinations), and no queues at the Autogrills on the highway!