I came to Italy with no plans, no itineraries, and no expectations. This is very unlike me as I usually spend weeks preparing for a vacation, making lists of everything there is to do and see and planning each day in advance. But this is not a vacation, this is living and contributing–this is travel.
Harkening back to my vision board I was encouraged to leave an image of an open door or window on it to invite possibilities I could not yet see. This has become a literal image of no expectations. Thank you, Suzanne!
I closed on my house on Friday and came to Italy on Saturday. Sounds crazy, and it was. I had six weeks to pack up the house, find a home for the dog and put everything in storage. Not only that but there was a ton of paperwork to do including finding health insurance ( I need not say more), canceling utilities and investigating phone plans.
Quite honestly a lot of that time was spent online shopping for the perfect travel purse or the most comfortable walking shoes. Way too much time.
I was blessed to have connected with Holly Bull at Center for Interim Programs last summer through an article in the New York Times. Holly generously connected me to La Macchina Fissa in Italy. Without Holly none of this would have been possible.
I had glanced briefly at the website of La Machinna Fissa—maybe three minutes when I decided if they’d have me that’s where I would go as soon as the house sold because I had to go somewhere! After that, I never looked again.
Arriving with no expectations turned out to be the best plan possible. Without expectations, you can never be disappointed. Your only choices are delighted or dismayed. As an optimist, I tend to delight, and I have been charmed ever since I arrived.
I’ve been invited to parties, garden shows, elegant dinners and to visit Bologna, Rome and more. I’m open to every invitation no matter how tired or intimidated I am. I have also hung wash on the line, watered plants and loaded the dishwasher.
My spontaneous tour of the City of Montova was charming and low key. Bumping into Franchesco, who we met a day earlier provided us with a proud tour of his community–which included the second largest castle in Europe!
My day in Florence was the complete opposite—throngs of crowds and souvenir hawkers. Yes, I realize that Florence is amazing, and I want to go back, but off the beaten path suits me better this trip. While I normally would plan to see every important piece of art and culture, I’m here to experience life in Italy. So far, it has exceeded this lack of expectations in the most delightful way possible. For those of you who have a love to travel, I’d highly encourage you to try something like this, at least once in your life. It has broadened my horizons, made me more tolerant and shown me I’m more intrepid than I realize.