Travel – Being Where You Are

I recently read something that brought to mind travel and how we are when we travel. This was amplified by two trips we’ve enjoyed this year – one to Australia and one to Colorado.

Here’s what I read from Mark Nepo:

“The moment we stray from where we are, we create a tension between two places – where we are and where we are thinking of being. It is this tension that blocks us from the sensation of being fully alive.”

Having time to absorb a place
Having time to absorb a place: coffee and writing in Sydney

One of the things I love about travel, particularly to an unfamiliar place, is that we tend to be fully present. The new and different engage our every sense and we pay attention in a way we don’t when we think we know everything about all that is around us. Because all the senses are engaged it does feel very much alive, and intense, and rich.

This was our experience on our two recent trips. We were fully there, not thinking of or worried about anything else.  And it was such a pleasure. We observe this same presence and pleasure in the people who travel with us on our Adventures in Italy trips. Interestingly, for them and for us, things change when we get near the end of the trip. At that point we are beginning to be both where we are and where we are going next. While natural, it is, for us, a bit sad to see as our new friends of a week, begin to look away to what’s next.

A beautiful pattern from downtown Sydney
A beautiful pattern from downtown Sydney

I think this dynamic is one reason to opt for longer, slower trips, rather than the shorter, long weekend trips that seem to be increasingly the norm. The longer your trip the longer you are more fully present, the longer and more completely you are fully alive, and the more deeply you are able to experience and enjoy where you are. If you are having to think about your return shortly after you arrive, you don’t really get to experience a place. Longer, slower trips lead to being truly there. In today’s world this is a true gift.

Kristi and Bill Steiner began leading “learning vacations” to Orvieto, Italy in 2003. Through Adventures in Italy they provide a cultural immersion experience. Many trips include the pursuit of some kind of creative work that complements and reinforces exploration of Italy’s culture. Relationships built over the years enable Kristi and Bill to provide experiences that a typical visitor to Orvieto never gets.

Trips are held in May and September/October every year. Their Discover Orvieto and Taste of Orvieto trips are available to groups any time of the year.

Learn more about Kristi and Bill’s trips. Stay abreast of Adventures in Italy developments, and follow Bill’s musings about travel and Italy on his blog Make Haste Slowly. View Bill's photos of Italy, Orvieto, and other memorable places at, and follow him on Instagram.

Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.
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