In the past month, I’ve stayed at over 7 places. That doesn’t count the number of Airbnbs I booked and didn’t like, the hotels I checked out, but didn’t like either, and the random spots I went to to find a place. I started my trip with 2 days booked in a small town in Sardinia and took it day by day and week by week from there.
Everytime I went to a new location, I would be nervous and not sure I would want to stay. After knowing that I’d find myself in that pattern, I learned to give myself at least a full day before moving cities. Yet whenever I found a Airbnb or hotel I didn’t like, I always moved right away, even if it took me 3 spots in a night to find a spot I was comfortable with. That was important, to know that I had a safe place to call home for the night.
Even when I stayed in Orosei in Sardinia for 2 weeks, I wasn’t planning to stay for 2 weeks. I booked for a few nights, booked a few more, and then decided to stay a full week etc. What this has taught me is to trust myself, know that even in moments of intense stress and uncertainty, you will figure it out. All is well and the universe is truly working for you and with you. Even in moments of doubt and fear. There is always a path forward.
The first time I had to find other arrangements the day of was when I was in Cortona. I had booked an Airbnb, the host was late, it was raining, and the internet wasn’t working. It was in a dark upstairs space and I was like F*** this, I want to stay someplace nicer. I canceled my week stay there and after wandering around looking for a hotel, I found a beautiful historic building to stay in. The people were so helpful and I now have epic memories of pici pasta with bacon and artichokes and some of the best gelato I’ve ever had. What was supposed to be a week stay, ended up being 2 nights. So I thought where do you want to go next Dani?
That’s when I decided to go to Urbino without plans. I had found a place last minute in Cortona so I thought why not? Hah, that’s when the adventures really started. I’ll give the summary here and get to the tips of traveling without plans and then come back to that story. It’s still too raw as I sit here in sunny Riomaggiore writing this. Let’s just say 4 cities later (and lots of meditation) that I’m finally feeling more centered.
- Get used to checking out airbnbs
- Give yourself some leeway and know that you are going to book places that you don’t like, you’re not doing anything wrong, it’s just part of the process. At least it was for me. It’s my story so that’s how I’m telling it;)
- What’s in the photo is not always what you get. Just like dating apps, just because the photo looks good doesn’t mean it’s as advertised. I remember one spot in Porto that had cool photos of a river view, what they failed to include was the abandoned building next to it and it’s creepy AF entrance. That was a no go!
- You’ll know if you like a spot or not, trust yourself
- Go with your gut. If it looks good on paper but doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. I found a gorgeous place in downtown Urbino in an historic building that ended up being so off energetically. Even though I was practicing feeling out places from the photos, I had to give myself some leeway that I’m not going to get it right all the time. It had these creepy dark paintings and I just felt nervous there. When I shared this with the person who was showing me the room, he said that the owner is a nervous person and that they don’t actually like working with them. So that made sense, I’m not crazy. That’s why you listen to your gut, even when logically it doesn’t make sense.
- Book one night and see how you like it
- I wish I would have done this more honestly. I would get into panic mode and just book places and then decide I didn’t like them. Not a good strategy so I’m suggesting a better one for you:)
- Practice coming back to center
- When you are in a foreign country, a new city, and don’t know where you are staying that night, it’s important to know how to come back to center. Whether that’s listening to music, meditating, getting the freak out moments out, talking to yourself, praying, you name it, I’ve probably tried it lol.
- What does it feel like to stay in the most epic place? How does it feel to be relaxing in a gorgeous bed as you gaze at the beautiful Italian landscape outside your window? Get into the feeling state of what you want.
- Follow the trail
- There’s always a cookie crumb to follow. That Italian relative that has a friend who has a friend etc. You never know where it will lead. Even if that’s not where your next place comes from, it gives you confidence to know that there are signs to see and listen to and that everything is unfolding as it should.
- Stay calm and find wifi
- There’s always a bar or cafe nearby that has wifi to book your next spot if you current one doesn’t work out. Like when I was in Porto and after a flight and Uber ride into the city, I was tired and hungry and just wanted to rest. Yet I went to 3 places total that night before finally getting dinner and settling in. (Included in that is the one that didn’t work out, a hotel I checked out but seemed lonely, and then the hostel/hotel I ended up staying at.)
- Remember you can’t get it wrong
- Know that even in moments where you feel like you really F*** it up, it’s okay. You can’t really get it wrong. Life still goes one even when it feels like it’s not going to. The earth will continue to spin in its orbit and the sun will rise the next day. I totally get those pit of despair moments, I’m not saying don’t have them but know there is something on the other side. Even when you can’t see it.
Enjoy your own journey wherever it leads you! Eat gelato and be happy.