BootsnAll, 2012 Travel Challenge
Week 3: Learning
Have you ever studied or taken classes on a trip? What did you study, and perhaps more importantly, what did you learn while on that trip? What would you like to learn on your travels this year?
The first time I ever really "traveled" was on a class trip, full of educational stops and tour guides and lots of on-site learning. It was all very interesting, and beautiful, and fun... but the most valuable thing I learned on that particular excursion, was that I loved everything happening to me: being in a foreign place, seeing something new and old and totally different from anything I'd ever known, and knowing I wanted to feel that sense of discovery and wonder again. My first trip taught me that I love travel, and for that reason it's probably the most important one I ever took. I still have very vivid memories of stepping off the plane into an airport with men holding machine guns by the luggage racks -- it's at this point you must quickly confront the reality you're not at home, and either love or hate it.
I wish I had a photo from that first bright-eyed experience, but I think they're locked away somewhere at my mom's house or in a storage unit. It's tough to know...
I would love to take more classes while traveling, but so far, my favorite would probably be the Taste Florence tour (mentioned during the #indie30) Josh and I took in 2006. A food tour. It was just a small sampling of all the wonderful things you can find in Firenze, but we got history, found the oldest wine shop, tasted cheese and bread off a cutting board at the central market, and finished it off with gelato. Honestly, there was no deep, lasting lesson this little class taught me, other than to confirm my already loving feelings for Italian food and the way Italians approach the business of eating and meals. It's an experience to some degree, not just dinner. We should all see it that way every now and again.
And I'm sure there are plenty of food tours in Florence, probably many more extensive than Taste Florence, but we had fun with it, we tried something new and we left with a list of places to investigate that most tourists wouldn't have handy on a regular pit-stop.
This year on my travels, I'd like to learn...
To slow down. I love being in a new place so much that I want to see everything I possibly can, which sometimes results in a more frantic pace than necessary. I've been learning the lesson that, "you can't do it all at once" is very true, and I'm taking it to heart on this upcoming visit to Greece. Two cities are on the agenda, and even though there are about 4 more I'd like to lump on top of that, it's just not going to happen. And that's okay.
As is usual, I'm more nervous about learning to navigate in and out of New York City to go upstate in March, than I am the language barrier and new culture I'll meet in Greece. Manhattan roads are a scary place.
Still studious and loving it,