Part of going abroad is the desire to travel. The easy part about traveling while abroad is being so close to so many places and finding people to travel with. The hard part is budgeting and balancing your time.
Being in Italy, I feel like I can easily get to nearly anywhere I want to visit. Before coming abroad, I did a lot of research on Rome-to-Rio.com and other travel sites. So, when I arrived in Perugia, I had a decent list of places I wanted to go within Italy and around Europe. At first, I was nervous that I would have to do a lot of traveling alone because everyone else would have different places they wanted to go or would already have plans with their friends. But I have been pleasantly surprised that I have been able to coordinate all my travel with my friends (as well as people I don’t know very well, because what better way to get to know someone than spending hours with them on a train?) I knew before coming abroad that my goal was to travel less around Europe and more in Italy. Perugia is perfect for this kind of travel because there are trains and buses that make travel within the country easy, but it does make it harder to travel internationally because, in most cases, flights leave from Rome or Florence (both several hours away by train).
In the weeks I have been here, I have been on several day trips around Italy, to Spoleto, Lake Trasimeno, Deruta, Assisi, Cortona, and Rome, as well as two big weekend trips to Vienna and Nice. While all those trips were amazing and so much fun, it can be hard coordinating around school, field trips, and my budget. I feel like I, more than most people in my program, must spend less on travel because I need to budget for two semesters. However, having two semesters also alleviates some of the pressure I think a lot of my friends feel about wanting to go to so many places in so little time.
I am reminded of the Billy Joel song “Vienna Waits for You” (which I found especially ironic while I was booking a kind-of-last-minute trip to Vienna). While the song is not really about Vienna, it’s definitely applicable to wanting to do more than you have time for. The song is about slowing down and not rushing through life, because you have your whole life ahead of you. I think about it a lot, because everyone I talk to wants to travel to as many places as they can while they are here over the next two months. I find myself feeling the same sometimes. But, the song reminds me that I have my whole life to travel, and if I really want to go somewhere I will be able to someday. It may take a few years, but I know I will travel again as soon as I am able, because it is an important part of my life and I love it. It helps to remember that travel is not the only thing I am here to do. I want to experience living in Italy. This year, I am living in Perugia and that itself helps relieve any ‘Vienna-ism’ I feel.