When I was younger, summer used to be the time where I got to escape from the reality of my hometown for a little bit. Be it a week, three or four, I always managed to retaliate a short period of time for myself, to explore and set off on my little adventures.
I associate summer with exploring, discovering and getting out of my routine to experience new things. That’s the reason why making summer plans is one of my favourite things to do, as with such a long period of time available for myself, the possibilities are endless.
This year, I have quite a few projects going on in my pocket, or used to. When I started writing this blog post, back in April, summer was still a far-away land that I was slowly but steadily approaching, with a bag of hopes and some diffidence. Berlin was going to be my first stop, even thought that could hardly be considered summer as the trip happened at the beginning of May. Still, it was the start of my plans, the event that would kick off the series of other trips I was planning on taking throughout the course of those two or three months of yearly heat.
The original plan was to go back home, to Italy, for a bit, in order to see friends, family, catch up with the sun and get some colour on these cheeks so I didn’t look like I came straight outta vampire movie, then off to new shores for a while. These plans changed drastically though, as I got some major news – I got a summer internship in Singapore. Although I had been applying to a ton of opportunities in Asia, I have such poor faith in myself and my abilities that I did not even consider the possibility of actually being chosen for one. That’s why when I got my confirmation letter, I was completely taken aback and actually had to take time to consider the offer and decide if I was ready to give up all my summer plans for this distant dream.
Turns out I didn’t have to do that, as the internship offer fell through at last and left me sad and disappointed. After weeks of planning and eventually deciding to give up everything to move to Asia for a few months, it was disheartening to see the opportunity shatter in front of my eyes and having to go back to plans which used to make me so excited before. Still, life goes on and, as I reached homeland last week, I started getting my plans in place once again, if a bit less excitedly and with a bittersweet taste in my mouth.
As indicated in the blog, my first trip will be to Hamburg, Germany. For some reason, I’ve recently been dying to visit this city. Not many people talk about it as a popular travel destination and I can see why. It is a harbour city with a good nightlife and a few good museums, but nothing compared to other bigger cities in Germany. However, as I generally like the country and seeing new places, I was eager to pop up north to get a break from home and live the German life for a few days. Although the trip is only going to take a few days, I am looking forward to the change and finally visiting this interesting piece of the country.
After Hamburg comes my big trip of the summer. Together with a friend – my former flatmates from the Dutch times – I am going to go on a good old road trip not far from home. As my friend is from Switzerland, I am going to head to Zurich near the end of June, spending a few days in our neighbouring country before setting off on our short adventure. Now, I am not one for planning. You can hardly know a place before actually getting there, hence the inutility of making precise plans on what you’re going to do, where you’re going to go and what you’re going to see during your time there. At the same time, planning is one of my favourite parts of travelling, spending hours, days and weeks researching all the best spots in the area that you must see at all costs. Bit of a paradox, isn’t it?
For this reason, my friend and I have a vague idea of where we want to go and what we’d like to see, but also left some blank spaces in between for spontaneous diversions to the original plan. The basic idea is to start from Switzerland, drive a bit through it (which is hopefully going to tick off a childish goal on my 2017 resolutions – VISITING HEIDI LAND! hashtag exciting life), then first move towards Liechtenstein. Which, you might think, is not that big to begin with. BUT. I feel like Liechtenstein is one of those underrated places that everyone knows exist and talks about, but no one really considers as a travelling destination in most cases. Hence my impelling need to visit it as soon as possible. And it’s on the way, so why not?
After that, we’ll drive towards Austria, then down to Slovenia and further south to Croatia. Although that is the plan and we’re not going to stray far from home, to be honest I am open to all suggestions and changes of plan, so who knows where we might end up? I am definitely excited for this trip and look forward to see where it will take us.
As I will probably be back around July 10th or so, I still needed to think of something to do to occupy the remaining part of the month. Now you need to know that, when I was in middle school, my mother had the absolute luck of being transferred to an office in Rome, which meant my family and I took a shitload of trips down south to see her and visit the city. Although I am far from being a local, I can proudly say I know Rome to a certain extent, which brings us to the next fact. After years of being back in Genova, luck was on my side and mum made her way back to the capital, as the activities she does there are quite honestly much more motivating and fulfilling than the ones at the office back home. For this reason, I am planning on visiting her during the second part of July, spending a couple weeks there. This gives me the chance to get out of Genova for a bit and finally see Rome again, with the advantage of being able to actually live there instead of only going for a few days or having to pay a hotel for it. This also allows me to see my mum a bit more, which I’m sure will make everyone happy as we hardly see each other for the remaining part of the year. On top of that, my boyfriend will hopefully visit at some point, which makes the rest of the month a bit more exciting as I’ll probably take him on short trips around the region.
Start of August will be my 22nd birthday. This makes me excited as I recently realised that, in the year of my 22nd birthday, I will hit and overtake my score of 22 countries visited. Although it’s not much, I am still quite proud and eager to see more. This is just the beginning! For this special day, I actually have nothing planned. My original idea was to rent out an amazing airbnb in the French countryside, which I fell in love with as it was essentially a massive gazebo in the middle of nowhere, with no electricity, internet access or anything of the sort. How great would that have been?! Unfortunately, I waited too long to make the reservation and the property is fully booked on the day, which means your girl needs an alternate plan. However, the general idea is to not have a plan, group up a few friends and hide from civilisation for a night or two so that we can fully enjoy nature and the bbbbeautiful gift of life.
Finally, another part of my plans which got sidetracked by the Singapore fail is my trip to Asia at the end of August. Originally, I was going to go on an organised trip to Vietnam and Cambodia at the end of the month, for which I was going mental as I have been dying to go back to Asia for years. However, the news that I had to go to Singapore for three months made me think I had no chance of doing that, as I was going to be working in that period. That meant I did not book my spot and let the opportunity go, thinking I would still get a chance to go on a few weekend trips once I was in Singa. Now imagine my absolute despair and disappointment when that plan actually fell through and I found out there were no spots left for the V/C trip. DESPAIR. And sadness. Which means I am currently in the process of looking up flights and alternative trips to Asia on my own, to make up for the massive fail. However, nothing is planned yet so far and I am waiting for a divine hand to give me a sign.
Finally, in September I would like to chill a bit more at home, perhaps going back to the Netherlands for a bit to see my old flatmates and also enjoy the Dutch life for old times sake. I have been hoping to go back to Rotterdam for months now, and that looks like a good chance to do it without missing uni or making my schedule unbearable. It would also be nice as the weather in Rotterdam should be ace at that time, with the slightest hint of Autumn breeze.
Although these plans are in no way set in stone and I am open to all sorts of changes (hate planning, remember?), it’s still nice to have something written down on paper (or a wordpress blog) and give my summer some sort of rough shape. I know the direction, now I just gotta figure out the destination and I am happy with that. Life’s all about the adventure after all, isn’t it?
Do you have any plans for the summer yet, or are you a last minute planner like me? If you do, you don’t, or have any recommendations for me, please feel free to let me know in the comments or drop me a message on here. Would love to hear about your thoughts!
On that note, I will know let you off this blog post so that you can go out and enjoy the sun or whatever weather your country has decided to gift you with. Hope you’re all having a lovely day (or night, considering it’s 3am right now) and an awesome summer!