Today, I am sitting at a coffee shop on a break from work, and I'm writing a post about it. So, are you ready? Here's how it really is like to be a 23 year-old with a one way ticket to Rome, Italy, a very heavy backpack and a heart full of expectations and dreams.
ROME»3-6 February (3 nights)
Even after choosing a city I already been to, and one I had fallen in love a year before, Italy was a test from day one.
Italy knew as soon as I got my feet out of that plane, that I was terrified. I held my backpacks hoping this wouldn't be a terrible mistake, that I wouldn't get robbed or abducted, and I would walk the streets without any confidence or knowing what the fuck I was doing in Italy all alone. It was like I worked my ass off for something I didn't even know what it was. And there I was, after eight months, in Rome, alone, and about to start the biggest adventure of my life.
Even having trouble figuring out what I was doing as I traveled on my own for the first time, being back in Rome was the start of a dream come true.
In Rome I felt alone, I got sick and I was in the worst hostel ever, I was clueless and I didn't know yet but this adventure would need adjustment, I would have to learn to be alone and to deal with the stress and sometimes the fear of solo travel.
NAPLES & POMPEI»6-9 February (3 nights)
I left Rome with a bad feeling about me going to Naples by myself after having every single person telling me I should cancel, that I should go somewhere else, that Naples was a very dangerous city, specially for a girl travelling alone. And after having no other choice, I boarded my train to Naples, totally freaking out and basically believing I would get robbed the second I got out of that damn train.
In Naples I developed my kick ass face, that was my way of sending the message "don't you dare come close to me, I'll kick you if you do!", I got lost and felt uncomfortable wandering the narrow streets with almost no one around as I held my camera in my hands knowing that if it got stolen my trip would be over right there.
I cried for not being able to find my hostel and I almost kissed the receptionist of happiness for arriving to the hostel with all my stuff.
I went to Naples wanting to climb the Vesuvius, which didn't happen as suddenly everybody was telling me I had to go to Pompeii (which was, honestly, super doll) instead, so I did. I met an Australian girl in the hostel and we went together, as we were both a little scared to walk alone in the city. We caught a very old train and it was basically raining inside and I don't think I've ever seen as many beggars as I saw here. The girl whom I spent the day with, said in shock that the was expecting poverty, but not as much as we faced that day.
Another reason I had gone to Naples was for the food. Ever heard of Naples being the birth place of pizza? Well, I wanted to eat typical Neapolitan pizza, which didn't happen either because I got too scared to adventure myself in narrow roads so I could find the place. There you have it guys...fear was stronger than me this time and my instincts of survival told me that day that I shouldn't go that away, so no amazing pizza for me.
Honestly, I couldn't wait to get out of Naples. It was a lesson, and I want to go back there, but I wasn't ready for this city. I was still learning to travel by myself, to defend myself, to not look so vulnerable. So my last test was leaving the hostel during the night, at 5.30am, to get the bus out of there. I was terrified carrying all my stuff at that time in what's said to be such a dangerous city, but everything turned out great, I got my bus to Perugia and I didn't get robbed in Naples. I survived!
PERUGIA, ASSISI & SPELLO» 9-11 February (2 nights)
After a week travelling between Rome and Naples, it was only when I arrived to Perugia that I finally realized I was there, I was in Italy, and I had my OMG moment! It was like a wake up call. The sky was beautiful and blue, and from walking those ancient streets, breathtaking landscape , to the peace of the town and the perfect location of my adorable hostel, it was here where things suddenly made sense, and the exact moment this happened was at the end of the afternoon on the day of my arrival, when I went to a high place to watch a landscape with rural Umbria on the background and I thought that was so beautiful that I started crying. Yes, CRYING! That was the feeling I had been waiting for, the moment I would realize that my days of working at a restaurant were over, my time of saving money was over, and I was in Italy with all the food, gelato, amazing language and perfect landscapes and towns to explore. That was the first day I felt pure joy for being on the trip, and the first day I embraced and loved being alone in Perugia.
Having only two days in Perugia, I was going to save my second day to keep exploring and fall in love a little harder, but the amazing receptionist from my hostel said I HAD to go to Assisi, saying it was AMAZING! Well, I couldn't say no to that, could I? With all the timetables for the trains, great directions and all, I was in Assisi in just thirty minutes. I got a bus to the top of the hill and I was hysterical by the time I stepped out of that bus. Everywhere I looked was perfect! I remember jumping in the street, doing a small happy dance and walking up and down because I couldn't decide which street to get, as I wanted to walk them all!
Maybe I loved Perugia and Assisi so much because of the way these places made me feel. It was like I had that moment of huge happiness when I cried, and suddenly I felt I could do anything and little did I know how far I would get!