I have never traveled internationally on my own agenda. When I lived in Kenya for two months, I was working as an intern at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology. When I was in Haiti for a week last year I was volunteering my time at the Wings of Hope home in Jacmel. I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything and they have been incredibly formative in discerning what I want to do with the rest of my life. Nonetheless, this is the first time I have traveled on my own itinerary (minus the week in Taize)
I have found that on long trips I really enjoy having down time! I don’t want to be a ‘tourist’ for the entire day. This is my vacation. I don’t have to worry about going to work the next day or making a deadline for a paper. The last thing I want to do is follow a strict itinerary that is jam packed with things to do. While this style may really bother some people, I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything! I am seeing everything I want to see and I am experiencing everything I want to experience – or at least think I want to experience.
Today, I stayed in the Florence AirBNB ALL DAY! I watched Netflix and one of my favorite movies (Notting Hill) and slept in until 11:00 in the morning! I researched grad schools and thought more about my life after I graduate next May. I ate meringue and pasta. I started journaling again and even began learning a new language! (Thanks Duolingo!) It was wonderful! A day off is totally necessary while vacation sometimes!
This trip has been good for me. I’ve enjoyed space away from school and work and to do lists. I think travel has a way to do that though. It’s a big step out of your comfort zone and also a big step away from your routine. It completely disrupts you. Nothing really beats just sitting at the steps of an ancient cathedral or on a rock ledge in the countryside of France or even wandering the ally-sized streets in Venice to give you time to think about all those things you put in the back of your mind during your regular routine.
I only have 13ish more days left in Italy. Only two more towns after Florence. And in those 13 days, I will embrace the experiences I have, while also taking the time to slow down, sleep in, and watch romantic comedies! (Julia Roberts movie marathon anybody? One can never turn down a viewing of Pretty Woman!)