I’ve been home for a week from my Italy excursion during the month of May. My brain has since been ruminating about the journey and I have found more reflections than I have time to write about. Even as I type, I am juggling several tasks between typing the title and actually transcribing my thoughts in this post.Several friends have asked, so here’s a quick take:
Favorite parts: I loved Florence the most. It had charm, rich history, a kaleidoscope of colors, rolling landscapes, a vibrant culture, and a taste of everything that makes Italy so appealing (my opinion). But really, I enjoyed each area for different reasons. Tuscany was simply stunning during every hour of the day. Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast were lined with trails that weaved along the water.
As a ‘foodie’, I plotted my pilgrimage according to every ‘must try’ by the culinary circles. I’m not even going to start on all the pasta, pizza, pastries and gelato or we’ll be here forever. Italy has cultivated the fine art of anything that comes in a cup. Simply put, the country is king of the kitchen!
So the worst part? Moving around so often. Before I left the states, I planned my priorities like most people; ‘I need to see it all’. As soon as my feet hit foreign ground, I realized it was going to be a lot more work and less of a vacation. I left my suitcase at home and opted for a backpack to prevent being preyed upon by pick-pocketers. This would have been a wise idea if I hadn’t packed 25 pounds worth of “necessities”.
It seemed like I barely had time to get acquainted with the street grid of a new city before I was packing up and catching the next train out. With each stop, my bag became harder to zip up, which meant heavier to hold. I quickly realized how I underestimated the burden of lugging dead weight on my back in and out of trains and bus stops.
Then it hit me. This is what I do in my personal journey through life. I try to pack in as many activities or friends in a short amount of time so that I can ‘do it all’. In the end, I wind up stressing over all the busyiness instead of being grateful for these moments. I want to absorb the leisure of one or two places and enjoy the depth of relationships with a few people instead of living with regret that I only brushed the surface of it all.
So my recommendations. Don’t go alone. There’s too much beauty to see and share with someone and two pairs of eyes are better than one when you’re navigating from the ground in a new city. Second tip. Tell yourself you CAN come back. That you don’t have to be everywhere and do everything. And in the end, your trip will feel more fulfilling with fewer stops. Lastly. Remember, there are no calories in anything when you’re on vacation, so enjoy it all. Just make sure to get to the gym when you get home 🙂