Last night Brad and I sat outside and talked about how our Italy travel has changed in the past few years. Yes, we have SLOWED DOWN, thanks to our membership in the Slow Travel community and the philosophy of staying longer in one area and really exploring that region instead of flitting all over the boot on one trip.
We started our Italian adventures together in 2001 by driving from Milan to Lake Garda to Venice and ending up on the Amalfi coast! On another trip in 2003, we began in Venice, spent a week in Tuscany, a few days in Puglia, then Basilicata, and again ended in Capri. By 2005, we had calmed down slightly, and divided our three weeks between Tuscany, Umbria and STILL ended with a week in Positano and Capri.
That summer I became a Slow Traveler! I no longer feared not returning to Italy. We had gone from "hooked" to "obsessed", and knew we would be returning each year. We traveled to Piemonte, Emilia-Romana and sampled Liguria. We returned to Umbria, making it our own. I spent two weeks with Ida in the Garfangana.
In 2006, we were "regulars" at GTGs (Get-Togethers) closer to home, and began meeting other Slow Travelers when in Italy. I attended a GTG in Cortona, and met Nancy and Bill in Montalcino. Last summer we met Gloria and Marcel in Pisa, Sherri and Joe in Firenze. We visited with Jane, Ken and Casey twice in Tuscany. In Umbria we met Judith, Barb, Art and Mary. We also attended the Slow Travel Umbria GTG and met MANY new friends from both Italy and the U.S., as well as seeing many friends we knew from home.
Slow Travel has largely determined where we've traveled domestically as well. After attending GTGs in Brevard, NC and Vancouver, B.C., we made new wonderful friends across the U.S. and in Canada. We have hosted friends from 9 states and Canada at our GTGs in the desert. It has become an annual event. We wouldn't consider missing the Slow Bowl in Paso Robles! We spent an amazing 5 days with our buddies in Savannah.
I spoke to a close friend in the Bay Area last week on the phone and mentioned I would probably see her in June. Her immediate response was, "Oh is there a Slow Travel party up here?"
Let's look at this next vacation! (TWO more sleeps!) We will be staying in a Slow Travel friend's apartment in Rome, and spending time while there with Massimo, Biancamaria, and hopefully their daughter. We are hosting a small GTG where we will meet at the apartment for a drink, and then dine at a close-by restaurant. We are taking an "Angels and Demons" tour of Rome. Why? Because we read the book? NO, because it is given by Slow Traveler, Tony!
The second week of our trip, not only will we be meeting up with Slow Travel friends, but we will be LIVING with six of them, and we will be cooking for them (and 8 others) for a week. This wonderful opportunity for a week in Tuscany came about because of our friendship with Gail and John when Gail flew out on the spur of the moment for our desert GTG.
So I guess Slow Travel has really changed not only how we travel, but where we travel, and who we travel with!
It has been an absolute blast to spent time together with Gail and John, Jerry and Paul, Sandi and Bill, and to meet Sandi's sister, Holly, who will be with us in Montisi. This is going to be one fun group! Will that lovely, quiet medieval town EVER be the same?