So…um…do you like art?
I’m going to take a little diversion from Real Estate here, so that my blogging can reflect my life a little bit. While I’ve been super lucky to help several people find great agents back in the US over the last couple of months, we’ve been busy with some things that have forced the “grander looming topics of real estate” to take a back seat in my mind.
Since my last post, we have been to the Canary Islands, Wiesbaden and Heidelberg Germany, Paris and Sicily. We spent an unexpected full week in the hospital with my youngest (who is fine now thankfully). We also enjoyed our Germany home in Stuttgart, and had a blast at Frühlingsfest with friends.
Reflecting on the last couple of months, I am so grateful that we’ve gotten to explore so many places. I also have been reminded over and over of the unexpected joys in travel.
When I went to Italy for the first time back in 2006, my dear friend and travel mate asked me a question that would shape how I travel for the rest of my life. We were planning out where we would go (Venice, Florence, and Rome on that trip), and she asked me, “So…um…do you like art?” It’s a funny question, and it was clear where she was going with it. She was not interested in going to a bunch of museums and spending all of our time staring at art. And the truth is – I do like art, and I can appreciate art, but it’s not my life’s passion. I am SO glad she asked me that because it made me own up to the fact that even if I felt like I was SUPPOSED to go from museum to museum appreciating everything, it really wasn’t what I wanted to do. We spent our time walking the cities, seeking out fabulous food in lovely environments, and drinking wine in various piazzas while people-watching. It was perfect.
Ever since then, I don’t completely PLAN a trip. I don’t feel any requirement to see ALL THE THINGS wherever we go. Because when I look back, with a few exceptions, what I really remember about a place is not seeing those things that you read about in books in person.
What I always remember about a place is how it made me FEEL.
Those feelings are captured in moments that are small and lovely that you might be able to replicate at home, even with the same people, but are somehow made sweeter and more beautiful by the place you are –
It’s sitting on a toppled medieval column outside of the Duomo in Siena on that 1sttrip, with my friend, chatting about nothing.
It’s discovering the BEST mobile crepe and waffle truck in Paris while walking along the river bank when we didn’t feel like waiting in line at the museum.
It’s walking down the street with different and interesting architecture all around you. Every time I’m in a new city or town it seems there is a moment when I take this in…I don’t know why really, but just walking down the street speaks to me about a place.
It’s my husband’s automatic joy whenever we are near mountains.
It’s having a beer with my dad in Munich.
It’s finding the world’s best cannoli in Sicily with my sister and nephew.
It’s piling ALL THE WINE into the cart at a random grocery store in Italy with my father-in-law, to the wonder and probably horror of the natives.
It’s the pure joy on my kids’ faces as they jumped on the outside trampolines in the Jardin des Tuileries. There was a beautiful statue there that I fell in love with.
It’s the time “Volare” (New Blu Depinto Di Blu) was playing at the restaurant below my open window when I was getting ready for dinner in Sicily.
It’s watching my mom, on every trip anywhere, enjoying herself completely.
It’s being with my sister at an eclectic biergarten in Berlin. We went for a beer and stayed for 8 hours.
It’s Pecorino cheese on eggs in Tuscany, and just hanging out with my Aunt in our villa surrounded by olive trees.
It’s sitting on the terrace at our Taormina apartment reading, snuggled with Jakey on my lawnchair who was playing (gasp!) video games on my phone and singing to himself all the while.
I could go on and on and on.
I feel like we would have missed a lot of these moments if I had succumb to the pressure to tirelessly pursue all of the things that we are supposed to want to see everywhere. Maybe a lot of folks would be more disappointed to miss out on seeing the sites, but for me these smaller moments are more lasting.
As I’m looking back I’m also realizing how special most of these moments were because of the people that I was with, and I’m so grateful for the loves in my life. It’s so fun to share these places with them. Traveling with kids is challenging of course. But if you’ve already relieved yourself of the pressure to “see all the things” it is so much nicer. It’s easier to be on their pace and not try to force a timeline that isn’t necessary anyways.
So, if you’ve got a trip coming up, I’d encourage you to decide what you really want to do there. If you are one of those people that has to see all of the famous sites in order to feel like you’ve been to a place, then by all means go for it. I do sprinkle in some of the “gotta see” stuff on each trip, but it doesn’t completely drive the agenda.
But if you, like me, just want to BE there…then I’d encourage you to allow yourself to do just that – and enjoy!
Thanks for reading!