A Traveler’s Manifesto

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in you sail. Explore. Dream. Discover.~ Mark Twain

We took Mark Twain’s words to heart and began our adventure this year.  We started in Europe–staying in countries we have visited before and loved.  But this time, we decided to go beyond the typical tourist experience.

Instead of peering through the windows of a bus at famous sites, we want to try to understand other cultures as much as we can by living in neighborhoods, eating what the locals eat, shopping in their markets, and learning their languages.

Borghese Palace, Roma, Italia. Shot with a Google Pixel 2.

Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.~Paul Thoreau

This type of travel goes beyond a checklist of famous sights.  It’s living like the locals do.  Some days we go to the park.  This shot was taken in the Villa Borghese.

Bubble Art in the Villa Borghese, Rome.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes. Marcel Proust

We frequently stop at a cafe for a cappuccino.  (By the way, you can get cappuccino any time of the day in Italy–despite what the guidebooks say!)

A Friendly Cappucchino. Florence, Italy.  Shot with a Google Pixel 2.

We take long walks because that’s a great way to get to know a place.  Each city has its own quirks, customs and contradictions.

Work of Pietro Canonica, Rome. Shot with a Fuji X-T2

To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries. Aldous Huxley

It’s also realizing that guidebooks can be wrong sometimes.  For example, despite what the experts say, jeans, tee shirts, and sneakers are as common here as they are in the United States.

At the Vatican. Shot with a Fuji XT2.

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.~Mark Twain

Most of all, it’s about recognizing automatic judgments, which are convenient and quick, but superficial. (True Confession: One of my pet peeves is about tourists who are only interested in taking shots of themselves in front of famous monuments.  I remind myself that it’s true of some tourists, but not ALL of them.)

Shots at the Spanish Steps, Rome. Shot with a Google Pixel 2.

The complete “picture” of other people and other cultures is far more nuanced and complex.  It develops over time.  Stereotypes come from the lazy part of our brain that doesn’t want to take the time and effort to parse the truth.  In fact, it’s difficult to understand anyone–including ourselves.

Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life. Jack Kerouac

And that brings me to the last point.  The journey is life.  The journey is learning about ourselves–our strengths and weaknesses–so we can be more open to life, to experiences, to other people.

As we continue through Europe, I’m looking forward to sharing our experiences, insights, and photographs with you.  It will be fun to travel this road together.

Where would you go if you could go on your ideal trip?  Have you ever lived in another country for a while?  What did you learn about the country, people and yourself?

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23 replies »

  1. Insightful and complete with photos and quotes – but I cannot answer your questions about an ideal trip…and I have not lived in another country for more than one month. Maybe this combination says it: I would love to stay longer in a country. I would love to work in another part of the world. I would love to really get to know another country and its people. But, I believe we can learn from shorter trips as well – if we want to.
    I love all your quotes, but maybe “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.”~Paul Thoreau hits me most …

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  2. Yes, absolutely, Ann-Christine! I agree about shorter trips. Until recently, the most time we had to spend traveling for the last 7 years was 2 weeks, so anything longer than that seems like a lot of time! Being able to spend months in one place would be amazing. So would working in another country. That Thoreau quote struck a cord with me too!

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  3. Interesting post, Patti. I have only ever made short trips, but plenty of them, over the years, and like Ann Christine, I do believe we can learn from these…..Love the Thoreau quote!

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  4. I love your first image. The lines, light and color are amazing. Also, your B&W rendition of Pietro Canonica’s work is great. You sure know when to use B&W and when to use color.

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    • Thanks so much, Maria. I always appreciate your feedback. The Canonica sculpture just stood out more in b & w instead of color. Glad you agree! I was so intrigued that it was casually lying on the sofa in the middle of his studio! The gallery had left his studio intact from when he was alive. Fascinating place and wonderful sculptures.

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    • It’s always wonderful to hear from you, Sally! It’s so true about immersion. It really thrusts you right into daily life and the language. I see you had a great vacation too. I’ll stop by your site next.

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  5. There is a lot here I can relate too. First, I was just in Rome for the first time this past fall 🙂 so I recognize some of the places in your photos. Second, we move a lot, so I’ve lived in several foreign to me places. It can be exhausting, but I ultimately love it.

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    • How wonderful that you lived in several countries! Which ones? Rome is great, isn’t it? Traveling/living in another country can be exhausting. We’re at the point where we’re not eating out as much and are doing things closer to “home.” It’s good to have these quieter days.

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      • We have lived in South Korea, Canada, and now England. Also several times is the US 🙂
        One of the pluses of living in a foreign country for a while is eventually you settle and begin to see the sights that are more for the “locals”.

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      • Fascinating to have lived in so many different places! It’s absolutely true about finding the places where the locals go. I love that! Same is true for local expressions.

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  6. Love the head on the sofa, Patti. 🙂 🙂 One of my biggest fears is that living in another country won’t be enough for me. I know I will still want to move on, however lovely the Algarve. (and people with selfie sticks are one of my pet hates, I don’t care how intolerant that makes me 🙂 )

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    • Hi, Jo! Great to hear from you. I totally agree about the selfie sticks. Not my favorite either. As for your fears, moving on is always an option. 🙂 🙂 You take your experiences and your insights with you as you go!!

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    • Thanks, Jackie! It’s been a grand adventure, for sure! It’s wonderful that you’re coming along for the “ride!” The Villa Borghese is a magical place, filled with museums, cafes, gardens, and sights like this one. The wealth and power of that family was astounding.

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  7. These are great photos, Patti. I, too, love the statue on the couch. 🙂 I recall back in the late 90s that women had to wear skirt in some cathedrals, in Vatican, Florence and Rome.

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    • Thanks, Amy. I’m so glad you like the shots. Interesting point. Women still have to cover their shoulders and knees when they enter the Vatican, so the regulations have relaxed a bit.

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  8. Great to see you and your travels . Debbi and I are leaving for ITALY in 4 weeks we always have great time with friends there !! We are going north this time Lake Region lake como . Great PICTURES !!

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