There’s something gratifying and exciting about planning a trip. As much as I am loathe to admit I enjoy planning as much as I dislike being held to a schedule.
Planning my route with Google maps, using the photo montages to check if it looks like where I want to be. Searching Airbnb listings and checking the travel routes nearby. Each click bringing me closer to the myriad of anticipated experiences.
This brings me to my next story:
Not all plans are as you expect and that is beyond great.
I discovered this during my first proper traveling freak out.
I had gone from the density and glorious metropolitan chaos of Rome to the small seaside town of Carrara on the Tuscan coast of Italy. It is situated between the incredible Cinque Terre / Le Spezia and the somewhat obligatory Pisa. This leg of the trip wasn’t going so hot
The Siberian was inscrutable and I was sulking. She had called me a clumsy child who would be eaten by wolves in her country earlier that morning.
She slept while I listened to Justice – Audio, Video, Disco on my headphones while watching her and the coast zip by on the train.
Arriving, the train station looked like it was a lot closer to the apartment on the map than the reality which would later provide a few late hikes home.
The host kindly picked us up from the station, the apartment looked better in the pictures, everything was so damn quiet.
I could see the look on the Siberian’s face mirrored what I was feeling.
We had committed to a week in the middle of nowhere. I wondered if we could drop a couple days and leave for Florence early.
I was on the balcony moping after unpacking, gulping down some nicotine laced vapor from my E-Cigarette.
The Siberian found me and suggested we take a walk and get our bearings.
Disappointingly many of the buildings in the main center were modern in style.
We took a stroll down to the beach, It was the primary reason I had decided to try book in Carrara, I had very nearly gone for Le Spezia but couldn’t confirm any beach areas nearby. Surveying the vibrant rows of umbrellas stretching off to vanishing point up the beach I started to relax a little. “At least the beach is good.”
Stretching into the ocean to the left of the beach was Carrara’s signature breakwater.
I reached the end and looked into the huge deep blue sky meeting the turquoise of the Italian riviera then turned towards the white marble capped mountains, broke a huge grin, threw my head back and laughed. What the fuck was I thinking, this is amazing.
“It’s not so bad is it.”
“Da, eto ochen krasivo.” The Siberian agreed smiling.
I learned to love the community in Carrara. Find that one awesome thing, let it wash over you and you will soak in the rest of the experience. The details start stacking up and pretty soon I had a mosaic of experiences being constructed, then a fresco of the place I am inhabiting. So many individual moments to rival the most impressive in larger cities.
The strikingly attractive female fishmonger near the breakwater who filleted some freshly caught fish for me to show off my cooking skills to the Siberian after a long day at the beach.
The grocer and his wife when I plaintively said “Problema.” returning a container of their tomatoes because a few were moldy.
She chided him while they sorted some fresh ones for me.
The wine merchant who brewed his own zesty as hell blend, who became animated when I mentioned I was from New Zealand.
Looking out at the mist rolling around the marble topped mountains from the balcony every morning and every night.
The clerk in the grocery store that desperately tried to dissuade me from buying a bottle of sangria that only cost €1.50, truthfully I was worried it would make me blind but it turned out she more likely wondered why I was drinking that cheap shit when I could be drinking something better.
The garden I stole a rose from and put in the Siberian’s hair during one of the late long hikes home from the Carrara Avenza station.
Sometimes the mistakes you make are the best moves you make.