In a little while, we will start to pack, figure out how to get home with all the souvenirs, take showers and prepare to leave the hotel at 4 am. Since we have $21 dollars left in our travel account, it must be time to leave.
A week ago I thought I would be sad tonight. But I'm not. As I just told Jon, I feel "whole." I feel like we did everything and more that we set out to do. This trip has exceeded every expectation I ever had for it. I'm ready to get back to family and our "real" life. If I could turn the clock back to September 6 and do it again, I would in a heartbeat. But I'm full right now. I realized tonight that if we are blessed enough to get to travel again, it will never be at this magnitude and it will never be our first time again. And that's okay. We have made SUCH memories. And we learned so much, about each other, how we travel and the world. With all the famous stuff we saw, I still mostly hang on to the conversations with people from all over the world.
Things we did right:
1) Stayed patient with each other at all times. Even when we were on the wrong bus. Stuck together at all times.
2) Talked to people! I learned this from Jon. I'm a silent traveler usually. But how oh much I learned letting people from all over the world into my life!
3)Spent time enjoying the culture, not just the sightseeing.
4) When things were different, we reminded ourselves that different doesn't equal wrong. Thanks for that +Misty Jobe
5) Reminded ourselves DAILY how lucky we were to be doing this. Discussed other places on our own bucket lists.
Things we did wrong:
1) We over scheduled tours. Truly, once you've been to one vineyard, you don't need to visit others. It's all the same. You see grape vines, vats and then taste a bit of wine. Same stuff, different country.
2) Realize that what we really like to do is hang out with locals. We did a lot, but didn't know how much that meant to both of us.
3) A biggie. We started a travel account awhile back for a trip such as this. We brought check cards tied to only it, so that we wouldn't overspend. What we forgot AND WE KNOW BETTER! Is that unless you use certain credit cards abroad, you pay a service fee every time you use a debit card. DUMB. We paid way too much in stupid fees.
4) Realize you are always going to spend more than you think.
5) Scheduled a 7 am flight from Florence to Paris to Mpls. But it was the only free flight for our miles.
Other things I learned:
1) Everything, especially water , tastes better in glass.
2) I was reminded once again, that no one is really envious because we live in the States. Their world works just fine for them.
3)In my small little world survey from Europe, the people are scared for our election and flabbergasted at Donald Trump
4) People are truly the same everywhere. Especially groups of women. And children. And "mansplaining" is a global issue.
5) Most people in this world are good and helpful. Are they all helpful and cheerful? No. But then neither are we.
6) Our national pride holds us back. Healthcare and transportation being the biggest. And the metric system. Why are we not recognizing that we are part of a bigger world? Education? With all the issues we have, and they are many, I think we still hold the winning card on that.
So now it's time to get ready to start to re-enter our own world.
We are ready.
Arrivederci! (Until we meet again...)