Today was mostly a day of rest – and travel. Our bus to Rome had a departure time of 12:45 PM, so we were able to sleep in a bit more and grab some lunch before heading out from Florence. The bus ride was pretty smooth, except it was one of the loudest buses I’ve been on. Apart from a person in back chatting on the phone, there was an old crazy/drunk man sitting an aisle away from me yelling and singing for most of the trip, and wasn’t quiet until he fell asleep…for ten minutes.
Still, we made it to Rome and found our hostel, grabbed some dinner, and now we’re chilling and planning out our adventures for tomorrow.
Since a little over half of our trip is over, thought this would be a good opportunity to reflect/ramble about our travels so far. So sit tight and feel free to read some of my random thoughts below.
Overall, I’d say this trip has been one of the best trips I’ve experienced in my life. Compared to the tour groups I’ve been on, we’re fully in control this time around – no 10-minute picture stops, bad buffets, and all-day bus rides. We can plan out our activities the night before, choose to stay at a location shorter or longer than planned, and take detours to our hearts’ content.
At the same time, we’re also entirely responsible for getting around, booking hostels and flights, and finding decent food that’s not overpriced. A lot harder than I’d ever expected. Since the start, I can’t think of a single city where we weren’t lost the first day. Hostel-booking becomes a headache when there are no availabilities or only poorly-rated locations.
Traveling has also been extremely exhausting, there’s just no way around it. It’s basically like taking a day trip every day for several consecutive weeks. Add in the early morning flights that we have to catch (wake-up time usually around 3:30 AM) in order to make our check-in for our new hostel, in addition to the miles we walk, and it’s not hard to see why.
And oh, the miles – we’ve walked a whopping 90 miles since the start of the trip, which is close to an average of 6 miles a day (high: 9.31, low: 2.90 – today). I’ve never walked this much in my entire life. But the exercise has just been amazing, and I won’t be surprised if I find out that I lost a few pounds by the end of the trip.
Despite all the supposed “hardships,” which are really just minor inconveniences that many people in other countries experience daily, traveling has been simply incredible. It’s living in the here and now, seeing and learning new things all the time, and savoring every moment of the day.
As clichéd as it sounds (and I’ve heard this a million times), traveling really does open the mind. We saw things that we would’ve never seen in our home country, and this really puts things into perspective and is a great reminder of our blessings. There have been many occasions where I could see myself living in a city we visited, and I’ve had moments where I wished I could make traveling and writing a career.
Speaking of writing, it’s been absolutely a pleasure updating this blog during my trip. I haven’t written this many posts in a month since December 2011 – funny because I didn’t make a commitment to post this much before my trip. It’s been one of the first things I look forward to after an exhausting day on the road. I love writing and I believe experiences go to waste if they’re not shared with friends and family. I hope you’re finding my posts pretty enjoyable and not (too) boring – I’ll be trying my best to consistently post (spotty Internets and all), but no promises!
Just wanted to end this post with a quick reflection. If there’s one thing I’m being constantly reminded of on this trip, it’s just how lucky I am to be from the United States of America (and California). Seriously, I didn’t know what I had until they were gone – the amazing climate, great people, clean restrooms, cheap and filling food around every corner, a freaking car, the list goes on and on.
Our country is far from perfect, and there are many things we can (and should) improve on. But traveling has reminded me to be proud of my country – we are blessed beyond measure, and sometimes it takes a change of scenery for me to realize this. Wishing everyone a Happy Independence Day and a safe and fun weekend!
I’ve been lugging around my laptop because I intended to do some video editing. While I haven’t done editing on the fly, I did start selecting and uploading raw footage of interesting sights from my GoPro. Here’s the first one from Venice below, more to come!
Stay tuned and read about my other adventures in London, Paris, Berlin, and Italy!
Steps taken: 8,773 | Miles walked: 2.90
Red, white, and blue at randomtidbitsofthought.wordpress.com.