Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 21: Deep Thoughts from Siena

Today I arrived in Siena! Then I realized that I didn't have a place to stay – nice!

After a torturous game of find the internet, and a little help from HostelWorld I found a hostel. Casa di Alfredo… Score! Despite my new surroundings, I honed in on its location. Somehow I wasn't surprised when there was no one there to book me a room. I started getting flashbacks of Cinque Terre. I laughed to myself as I followed the 'campsite' signs.

As I was walking down the hill that Siena is built upon, Tuscany was hit by a monsoon. Despite my hat's mojo, it did little to protect me from the aquatic onslaught. Soaked to the bone, I drudged up the hill towards the campsite. Once there wasn't a dry spot left on me, the rain stopped. I turned to my right and low and behold… DOUBLE RAINBOW! Instead of crying and singing a song I laughed more. Cool beans. This was hands down one of the most beautiful rainbows I've ever seen. Bellissimo! Suddenly, being soaked wasn't so bad.

The second double rainbow I've seen. The first was in Colorado.

All of this rain and reward got me to thinking. Planning ahead definitely makes your life easier but also less interesting.

For me, best part about traveling is also the most difficult. Being pulled in every direction. Growing.

Growing is difficult. Babies cry when their teeth are growing in. Teenagers get moody and buy studded belts from Hot Topic. Newbie travelers get soaked in the rain. Thankfully, traveling results in some sweet stories. I'm not sure if stories are better than teeth, but they sure beat Hot Topic.

Every time I figure out a system that works, a new problem comes up. As soon as I make connections in a city, the wind blows me somewhere else. I didn't realize how comfortable I'd become in Florence, though I was quickly reminded when I got off the train today in Siena.

Unfortunately, problems and struggle are the only way I grow. While struggling sucks pretty bad in the present, growth that results feels great in the future. The more difficult the problem, the more satisfying the solution. Perhaps in the stories you have to tell your friends. Perhaps in a new skill learned, or a swanky way to pick up chicks.

I'm learning so many things at once. I often feel overloaded. Perhaps Pratt was good for something after all. My drawing teacher freshman year told us "An artist must be comfortable in uncomfortable situations." It's like learning to walk all over again, because my platforms are constantly changing. It's something that I've been through all my life, especially through college. Moving five times in one summer was absurd. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but, I learned everything from responsibility to how to live with a 47 year old child. I'm finding similar difficulties in traveling. Life is full of problems!

When I'm feeling overloaded (or soaked) solace is easy to find. Whenever I am stressed I have my entire past to stand on. I've got the strength of my past experiences, family, and friends. It's difficult not being in as close touch with my family and friends. But these times apart make me cherish our time together. Phone calls and post cards go a long way.

I've also been meditating and learning to follow my heart (and the universe!). Despite getting soaked in the rain, if I had been anywhere else I would have missed that beautiful rainbow today. The more I pay attention, the more synchronicities I notice. That's a whole other post!

I can always go back to what I've done before. While it may take me some time to readjust, I know I can do it. That's pretty profound. By traveling and exposing myself to new circumstances I'm expanding my base faster than ever before. By acknowledging how much I've grown, I enable myself to better cope with future growth.

I got the "extra special" Ross price – FREE!
I could live in my tent forever.
Talk about satisfying solutions. Wet clothes in between the tent and fly.
Anything free makes me happy.
Dinners that are €28 don't make me happy.

Thanks to a free camp site at Camping Calleverde Siena I'm enjoying my first warm meal in a week at the only restaurant where I can find internet. With my computer as my date, ya'll better enjoy this article. I could have used this time to woo an Italian babe. That's all I need – more problems. You know what? Bring it on. Too bad there's not a teething ring for travelers.


  1. Hey, really great blog post… I've enjoyed reading through your blog because of the great style and energy.

    I actually work for the CheapOair travel blog. If you're interested, we would love to have you on as a guest blogger. Please send me an e-mail: gchristodoulou(at)cheapoair(dot)com, and I can give you more information. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  2. Word of advice for not spending so much on a cute dinner. Remember to go off the beaten path and look for those cafes no one is seeing down the side streets, especially in tourist towns such as Siena.

    PS - take up George on that guest blogger offer.

    Ciao sir and be safe.

  3. @ George- Email sent!

    @ Aaron- Lesson learned :) Thanks for the comment.

  4. ross, i enjoyed this post so much, im glad you went with the 'emotional' blog post, i am so proud that you are my friend and i am living vicariously through your adventures. you are so brave and inspiring and i feel like i am on this trip with you reading your posts. miss you tons and keep writing!!! and seriously though... go hit on an italian chick ;)

  5. You're sweet like apple pie kate! Let me be your cinnamon. When you figure out what that means, let me know.

    Speaking of chicks... Last I went out with this beautiful Columbian woman I met on the bus. She thought I was 28. I've never gotten that before. I'm seeing her again tonight. Sunset on Piazzale Michelangelo. Smooth ;)


Related Posts with Thumbnails