Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lessons Learned

When I was working, and had something of significance going on, it was always worthwhile to pause midway through and checkpoint.   You know, make sure everything is on track and make adjustments as necessary.     I have to say I sort of lived for stuff like that.    The good news is that I still carry these skills around with me and actually get to apply them now to my own life.    Don't worry, this is not going to be a reflection on my post work life, not in this update anyway,  but I do feel I should explain where the dorky checkpoint is coming from. 

Ok, background covered.

I’m mid-way through my trip now.    I was feeling pretty carefree in the beginning part of this as I had so much… time.   It never actually occurred to me in the beginning that I’d be going back home at some point.   Strange, right?  Well, now I’m starting to feel that sense of urgency again.     It is kicking me around and telling me to take advantage of every remaining minute.    I’m not overly optimistic that I’ll use every minute, but I’ll certainly give it my best shot.

Back to the original topic.    Mid-way check point.   Lessons Learned.   What I’d do differently the next time around.   What I’d do the same.   Whatever you want to call it…   here are my reflections thus far.   I’m keeping it to couple thoughts per topic.   I need to make sure I maintain my readership of six.  I am sure this subject will arise again.

Things I Might Do Differently Next Time

Pack Less.   Pack Differently.
The real problem here is that I’ve really been on two completely different kinds of trips.   The first, the cruise, I needed at least three outfit changes a day.    (just kidding).   But I did need certain things like heels and cocktail dresses that will not see the light of day for the remainder of this trip.    And speaking of the remainder of this trip, at the rate I’m going, I could literally wear the same one or two ensembles from here on out.  I have laundry and its not like I’m running into the same people over and over again.    In conclusion, I wouldn’t change things too drastically given the ship component.   What I might do is eliminate at least half of my day to day items.  I could live in jeans and some shade of black, grey or brown here and be very happy.    I'm dreading lugging my suitcase up five flights of circular stairs to my Paris flat.   Dreading it. 

A Little More Up Front Planning.
Specifically, for Rome.   I should have signed up for a language class right away so I could meet friends from the start.     I might have suggested that my visitors arrive towards the middle or end of my stay so I could get better acclimated.   Hindsight.   I have salvaged it a bit and now have a number of things planned before I leave, but it would have been nice to form some connections early on and of course, feel a little more comfortable with the language.    I'll try and apply this to the Paris portion of the trip.

Things I’d Do the Same

Have an open mind.
I had zero expectations for this trip.  I left with a completely open mind and the attitude that it will all work out as it has been planned for me and I will learn what I am meant to learn.  On the surface this appears to conflict with my upfront planning comments, but the thoughts are actually very different.    I suppose this is more of a recommendation to anyone who might read this and is looking for a little advice for their own travels.    Just be open to whatever comes your way.   In challenging yourself to do things a little differently, you will learn so much more in the process.   It really is a growth experience if you let it be. 

Start a blog.
It was the very last thing I did.  In fact, since I started this the night before I boarded the ship, it was very possible that this might never have happened.  I am thrilled to have a forum to drone on about my rambling thoughts and rapidly changing feelings and at the same time record what I’ve been doing, both in pictures and in words.   Like anything else, I put if off, because I figured it might be hard to figure out, but it really wasn’t.   I’m hoping I keep it up.   It certainly helps me and if I can keep a couple of you entertained in the process, all the better.

Things I Miss

My Cats
My Hairdresser

Interesting that what I miss most while being away are the relationships, the people.   Well, that and I kind of miss my bed and my bathtub.   I threw in my hairdresser as I can see that by the end of this trip, I am really going to be suffering in this area.    I'll also add that not only am I becoming more blond than I would like, but my freckles have also all reappeared and I am turning brown.   So not happy about any of this.  I do have a love/hate relationship with the sun.   I need it, but I don't like what it does to me.  

Finally, here is a current overview of the things I have planned for remainder of Rome.   Still working on building the itinerary, but gives you a good idea.

Today – Villa Borghese
Friday – Trip to Chianti and Umbria
Sunday – Appian Way
Monday – Trip to Pompeii and Amalfi Coast
Wednesday – Trip to Florence
Friday – Cooking Class

I’ll fill in the other days with more around here or little outside trips. 

Off to explore!   Ciao. 

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