I never expected or planned to be Traveling so much this past year. After nearly 9 months of exploring and volunteering around Europe I had found myself in the heart of Italy. I'd spend the last 3 weeks helping with luxury weddings in the beautiful region of Umbria: prepping the 12th century chapel, serving food, and bar leaning with little sleep in between. It was time for a vacation.
Many options were currently wide open, as my only time constraint was a flight back to the states in a few weeks. I was feeling a bit blasé on trip planning so I decided to take a breath. One of my biggest distractions is Instagram, so I took to the latest Newsfeed. An iconic photo of white washed buildings with blue roofs immediately popped up. I literally gasped and turned to my new friend Diane and said "We should go to Greece!"
She replied with, "What's your budget?" to which I said "I can be walked." Diane, a financially sensible, but adventurous New York native replied "That's not a number, but I can work with it." We decided to divide and conquer. I'd tackle our exact destination in Greece and Diane would find our accommodations.
The photo of inspiration that initially popped up into my Instagram feed captured the beauty of Santorini, Greece. As much as I really wanted to go there I soon realized after a few airfare and ferry route searches that Santorini was not our best bet. It was going to require more time, money, and effort that we were willing to put out. An inexpensive direct flight to a Grecian island during the start of tourist season seemed very highly unlicensed. With a bit a determination and a glass of chilled white Italian vino at my side, I had it. Hello, Corfu Island!
Direct flights from nearby Rome would take us straight to Corfu Island. Diane gave me the go ahead and our flights were booked. Next, where to sleep? After reviewing various hostel and bed and breakfast options, Diane had the place. Before we knew it, we were on a train, to another train, to a bus, to a plane from Rome, and finally a safe landing into Greece.
"I can see Albania from my beach towel" I never expected to say that one. The next 10 days were quite literally filled with the following lovelies: swimming in magical crystal clear waters, laughing with new buddies, yoga on the beach, viewing World Cup games, snorkeling, a toga party, and food so delicious it made us misty eyed . Who knew feta cheese, olives, and pita bread could bring tears of joy? Our time on Greece easily became some of the happiest and most memorable times during my entire 9 month trip. The spontaneity, sunny skies, and people we met along the way brought the adventure full circle. I'd be heading west to Oregon in just a matter of days. Ending on such a high note was totally unexpected and much appreciated.
Even after my adventures I am still a bit overwhelmed by travel planning, but now I realize it's mostly just excitement. It's like trying to choose a pasta sauce in an American grocery store! How is a girl to pick the right one? At the end of the day I choose chunky vegetable pasta sauce and travel to places that really resonate in my gut.
If there's something about a place that feels like the right one to visit, then go! It does not matter if it's not "the" hot spot, at the top of everyone's list, or the exact place you originally envisioned. Listen to (and trust) your gut, pack your bags, and go! Get out there and enjoy the great wide open.