Tag: traveling

Why nobody talks about Molise?

Why have I never done it? What’s Molise, anyway?

Well, let’s start from the beginning. As I’ve already told you before, probably more than once, I’m definitely an autumn enthusiast. This means I really enjoy red leaves, fireplaces, crisp air and all the package. I really wish to experience autumn in Canada, for an instance, but this is another story. Since I had a couple of free days, two weeks ago, I decided to leave for a small trip with a few dear friends of mine. The problem was, where to go without spending a small fortune and without having to stay in a car for the whole duration of the trip? As it turns out there’s a region in the south of Italy which for some reason isn’t really on the main tourists roads, despite being pretty close to some beautiful and well known villages, and also on the road to a few of the most popular ski resorts in the south. This region also has some amazing landscapes, is not crowded at all so you can really enjoy its relaxed, peaceful atmosphere and if this were not enough, with a little luck you can run into the truffle festival!

Well, this is Molise for you! For me there’s just a virtual, self-inflicted clip behind the hear because of course I knew Molise existed, but it never occurred to me to go there, despite it being really close to where I live.

We had to choose the easy paths for our walks because it was a rainy weekend but it was wonderful just the same. I got to collect a small booty of pine cones and acorns with which I am having fun making some Christmas decorations. We also visited a sanctuary for injured or sick animals, where they are currently treating wonderful birds of prey and some turtles. Or maybe the turtles are just there as permanent guests, I’m not sure.

Unfortunately, deer and does were nowhere to be seen, but it is completely understandable. You never know what some smelly humans can do.
As far as I know in the region there is also a large peat bog where you can meet wild horses, among countless other species of animal and birds in particular. It must be a beautiful place, and definitely something I will want to see sooner rather then later. I’ve already seen something of the sort in France and it was really far beyond amazing. Sadly for this I will have to wait for spring.


In the meantime, my advice is, if you are in the south of Italy don’t snub Molise!

Vacuum bags are a girl’s best friends

Now, this may not be glamorous or romantic but honestly, this was for me a little revolution. I love traveling light, I learned the hard way many many years ago in Greece, but this is a story for another time. Anyway, sometimes if you have to travel long, or move around a lot so that laundry isn’t an easy option, or you are somewhere where the climate isn’t stable, to pack just two t-shirts and one extra pair of shoes simply isn’t possible. This is when those plastic bags come in handy. You put your stuff inside (store it all wisely so you can open just one bag at time, this is extra useful if your ho(s)tel room is tiny), pump out the extra air, and that’s basically it. You have now saved a whole lot of space and your luggage will also weight less, which can be important if you travel by plane, but also if you have to carry it around for a while.

I’m not here to advertise any brand or product in particular, you can buy bags of any form and dimension, but since you need to carry the pump with yourself for when you have to pack on your way back, it’d be better to choose a small, light one. Also, the bags are not eternal, so in my humble opinion it’s not wise to buy extra-expensive ones. Not that they are very expensive to begin with.

Looking for a flaw? Here we go. Depending on how long the bags remain closed, your clothes can come out quite wrinkled. The first time I used this trick was when I went to Japan, but since it was winter and I mostly packed sweaters the problem was almost non existent. This summer I’ll bring light clothes, cotton shirts and a bit of pile, so we’ll see what happens.

Never too late

This feels sort of personal, but I want to talk about my experience because I’m sure there are a lot of other women out there who are going through the same path. Maybe this can help a bit.

So we all want to go, right? Then why we end up staying?

When I was 20 I was super shy, afraid of my own shadow and at the same time eager to spread my wings and fly. Imagine the amount of frustration, to be like a tornado trapped in a bottle. I had to finish studying anyway, so university kept me from having to make any actual choice.

When I was 30 my family went through a very rough period. It really didn’t feel right for me to just leave, even if it was what I wanted the most. I knew pretty well, tho, that leaving was 90% running away from problems than anything else.

Now I’m in my 40’s and still afraid, still making excuses with myself. I mean, I do a lot of things, I travel much more than before thus I’m proud of myself, but there’s always that little voice in the back of my head. “It’s not yet the right moment. Just wait for things to settle down. If only you had a little more money.” What changed then? Mainly it is that now I am aware enough to understand when there is a real problem that prevents me from leaving and when I am only finding excuses.

Just a few days ago a friend of mine said something along the line of it’s too late for a new chance and I realized, not for the first time, that I didn’t want to become that sort of person. I didn’t want to wither to the point of thinking that at 40 life is already over. Actually, I feel much more an accomplished and complete person now than 20 years ago. People gets sad when they realize time goes by, I don’t. I wasn’t a very happy teenager and I already talked about my 20’s. Time is making me wiser, calmer, more positive, thinner, even (my nutritionist is an hero and I’m on a super diet which I just love!), but I am digressing.

Granted, there will always be something or more probably someone who doesn’t want to let you go. For me there is family, with the good old adagio: you should think about how to fix your life before anything else. This is a vaguely polite way to say that since I am not married, I don’t have children and I work as a freelance, my life is a disaster and they worry for me. The last part is true at least, they worry because they care, that’s why I don’t get mad at them.

Anyway, my point is it’s never ever too late to leave life at the full extent, to be what you want to be, to pursue a dream or simply to enjoy a peculiar hobby. Unless you decide so in your head. There are many people who are loaded with prejudices that prevent them from doing things, but I don’t have to be like them and neither do you. This obviously doesn’t only concern the topic of travel, it applies to everything. So what I’m doing next? First of all I’m looking for a job abroad. Secondly I’m planning to go away for the next couple of months. Most probably I’ll find myself a nice farm in the UK or Scandinavia to spend the summer, it get’s too hot in the south anyway. They always need an helping hand and they give you a place to stay for free. Isn’t it a great deal?

Is solo traveling the recipe for happiness?

The last time I was in Milan, a few days ago, I went with some friends. A small group of four people that I feel great with. We are soulmates, or something like that, literally on the same wavelength. We had fun, we laughed, we basically lived in symbiosis for four days. It was great and I wondered more than once how fun it would be to go somewhere together, for a longer period. Then I realized that with three of those people I have already traveled on several occasions and it has not always been easy. Indeed, sometimes it was really difficult and this is one of the reasons why in this phase of my life I tend to want to travel alone. Except when I do it I really feel guilty toward others, the friends I left home. Maybe they wanted to come too? Maybe they’d have enjoyed this place or that even more than me? Also I feel like I am missing something, or rather someone, with whom to share my emotions, or simply a table in a restaurant. What I really wonder now is if I am in a transition phase, one in which my tolerance for people, even those I love dearly, is getting lower for some reasons. Or if we all simply changed a little bit so that we are not 100% compatible anymore. Or, again, if it is really so difficult to find good traveling companions but somehow I never noticed before.

A few months ago I also tried to make a little trip with complete strangers and it was tragicomic. I have to admit I have good memories of that trip, especially since in the end the tragic parts were tragic to the point of being funny. After all life should always be lived with a smile, right? Anyway, as silly as it may seem, I’m almost scared to leave town with someone else, but loneliness is not an option that makes me perfectly happy either.

If and when I find a way to solve this dilemma I’ll share my wisdom, that’s a promise!