Five mistakes I made traveling in Italy.

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My Biggest Mistake: Everyone talks about the important of good shoes. I’ve heard it over and over. Did I listen? Of course not. I went to REI the day before my trip and bought some really expensive shoes that looked like thick soled ballet slippers by Nike thinking they would do the trick! They’re make by Nike right? They are black and cute right? They had an elastic band opening and I wouldn’t need to tie or untie laces right?

I was so wrong. They were very comfortable on the plane and for about the first day and half – then I noticed that the elastic opening was digging into my heel and making each and every step uncomfortable. This only got worse as time went on. Bandaid after bandaid did nothing to alter the fact that the elastic was pushing into my flesh making a deep red weal. Finally I gave up and pushed the soft heel of the shoe underneath my foot and began walking in the shoes that way – Like a slipper – toes covered but heel and shoe flapping loosely. NOT good for a 10 day tour through Italy that included at least 10 hours of walking per day.

So Please, do NOT buy new shoes right before a trip. Do not worry about shoes being cute. Bring your most comfy shoes for walking no matter what they look like. Because if your feet aren’t happy it’s going to affect the whole rest of your trip!

Mistake Number Two: Because I’m a yoga instructor, I thought it would be cool to bring my yoga mat with me. I would take time every day to practice, making my journey more meaningful and enjoyable. Having my mat would encourage me to stretch after a long day or do some fun poses out in nature. Plus all the local yogis would know I’m a yogi too – so I’d be in the cool club of yogi kids!

WRONG. I didn’t use my mat at all during the trip. I did use it a little bit at the airport but that doesn’t really count does it? For someone who professes to travel lightly. I could have saved myself the extra weight and bulkiness of my mat being attached to my backpack. AND I should have really researched before the trip a time and place to take a yoga class while in Italy – THAT I really regret not doing!

Mistake Number Three: I got a lot of great advice about what to pack before leaving and I followed most of it. I was told to only bring two pairs of pants – which I did. But my mistake was that the two pair I brought were black knee length yoga pants.

You would think that would be a good choice right? They are black, they go with anything, they are lycra so they wick water away, looking sporty is not a bad thing. The problem is that when I wear yoga pants I do not wear anything underneath them. Yes, that means no underwear – so effectively the pants ARE my underwear which means I have to wash them every day. Which I got REALLY tired of doing. If I had brought regular pants I may not have had to wash them at all – or maybe just once if I spilled some Gelato on them. I can almost hear you chuckling – I know it’s funny but I’m trying to be honest here. Big Smile.

Mistake Number Four: Not bringing more beauty products. I brought the normal stuff toothebrush, toothepaste, a comb, a little makeup, deoderant etc. BUT what I did not bring that I wish I had: hair conditioner and a straightener. I know, I know, a vacation is not supossed to be about how pretty you look while you are hiking through the ruins of Rome or Venice. I wasn’t there looking to meet anyone nor was I really worried about how I looked….I THOUGHT.

BUT, when we had one day off in Florence and I found a hair salon (I really did need a cut) and they washed, conditioned, cut and blow dried my hair……I felt FABULOUS!!!! I walked around Florence flipping my hair, feeling ten times more confident, attractive and accomplished! I must have looked much better because when I met up with our tour leader later my hair was the first thing she noticed!

So from now on I will always bring conditioner and a straightener or curling iron. Because if I can make myself feel that much better by having good hair then it’s worth the room in my bag!

Mistake Number Five: Not being more aware of the level of activity this tour entailed. I found out very quickly that our group spent the ENTIRE day together – walking, seeing the sights, visiting important histroric places and eating fantastic food. Don’t get me wrong, I had a GREAT time in Italy. But what I found out is that I needed more down time. Time to rest each day and relax alone in my room and because of this I spent about half of the evenings seperate from the rest of the group.

I know this is not such a great big mistake as much as a learning experience and alone time is really good. I found that when we got a short break in the mid afternoon I would just excuse myself and retire to my room to bathe, wash my clothes for the next few days, read a bit, text my boyfreind and eventually sleep. It was good for me but I did miss out on some of the evening activities.

I hope you have found my mistakes helpful. I would love to hear from you any mistakes that you have learned from as well! Here’s to Living Simply, Breathing Deeply and Traveling Lightly!

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