Travel, like everything else in life, involves time. From the moment you must press purchase, you know your set travel dates. You know when you will be leaving for a destination and when you will be returning home. Everything is within a certain time frame. Some of us go for the standard two-week vacation for that is all our jobs, family commitments, or school will allow. Others decide to be daring, going around the world any where from 8 months to 2 years. Then, there are those that just never come home. Their travel time is indefinite. They have no home base. Their home is packed away in a storage locker in some far off corner of the world. Eventually, their travel time, like the majority, will come to an end, hopefully decades upon decades down the road.
I have received a few questions here and there about my upcoming travel plans, including why I am living in Italy for three months. Wanting to answer questions and perhaps help those deciding how they want to travel, I have created a list as to why I am staying in one place for three months, making trips here and there, but still basing myself out of one studio apartment for 90 days.
1. Actually Having Time To Sleep
If you set up a home base for your travels, you are not constantly in a new city every two days. You have time to rest up and live your 3-month destination to its fullest degree. You may have those late nights out at times, but you can determine your next morning schedule. While hostels and couchsurfing options are great, let’s be honest. Sometimes you just want a bed you know who cleaned the sheets last as it was you. As I am renting an apartment, I know I can come and go as I please, make all the noise I want (within reason), and I won’t be disturbing anyone. I can sleep soundly under that clean pillowcase, well rested for the next day as I have the privacy and comfort of a place to myself.
2. Finding A Home Away From Home
No one can tell me they don’t miss at least one aspect of something at home. Big or small things, homesickness is natural. I am not someone who gets homesick or falls into a gloomy disposition complete with tears the minute I leave Mom, although this did occur at 4 years old when dropped off for ballet practice. When you live somewhere for several months, you can introduce elements of home to make you feel a little bit less foreign. While my red hair is a giant indicator in Italy that I am not from around there, I still managed after living there several months at a time to make the city my home. Shopkeepers start to know your name and expect you every morning. Friendships grow and develop with people who actually live in town. If you do the host family option, you may just find a new family halfway across the world. Just don’t replace them for your old family. They did raise you after all.
3. There Is Always A Place To Put Your “Stuff”
This summer, I intend to take several trips. Some of them will be for the day, in and around Italy, while others will be more extensive and involve plane rides and ferry boats. The beauty of having an apartment allows me to leave that cumbersome bag at “home” on weekend or week trips. No sore shoulders for me as my clothes, shoes, purses, and pants will also have a home base.
4. Becoming A More Observant Traveler
I have lived abroad in the same city for several months at a time. There were things I never noticed my first few days in town that I only discovered with time. They may be little, but that far off destination seemingly so foreign, starts to open up with possibilities I never considered. That old man on the corner with his cane, smiling at everyone passing him by, didn’t catch my eye until weeks after living in Sicily. I grew to know his daily routine, what shop owners he seemed to enjoy, and just what he thought of me by his wise, yet telling Sicilian stare. I’m not saying these moments and details don’t occur when you visit a place just for a few days, but as time passes in one spot, I did notice and appreciate aspects to that destination on a sharper and deeper level. Those details and moments are what I love about travel. It is in the details you uncover aspects to yourself or that local man staring back at you.
How do you travel? I would love to hear how you travel and what you like most about your way of living on the road in the comment box below.