The past few months, my life has been a whirlwind of trains, buses, ferries, planes… all modes of transportation really. I never imagined spending so much time transporting from one destination to the next, nor having the patience to do so. While exploring new destinations has always been something I enjoyed, the “getting there” part I dreaded. I would find myself getting antsy, impatient, and anxious during an hour-long car ride down to San Diego with a group of my best girl friends. Now after taking buses, to trains, to another bus to a ferry and finally a last bus to reach a hotel in Capri, the “getting there" part is half the fun. I write this during my 4-hour train ride from Florence to Rome – months ago I would have dreaded this commute, now a mere 4 hours of being on a train is nothing.
This past weekend I spent in Tuscany which all began with a scenic drive through the golden rolling hills. Our group consisted of 13 females and one lucky guy – or shall I say we were the lucky ones. After a five course home cooked meal in a 13th century farmhouse, we all hopped back on the bus that would make its way to the train station. Full and happy, the excitement on the bus was contagious and before we knew it Mike, aka Chocolate Thunder, stripped down to his “dirty drawers” and proceeded to dance and catwalk down the crammed bus aisle. I am sure the egging on by 13 females and unlimited wine at lunch had something to do with this, but as we made our way through the Tuscan countryside, we were offered a show, and you bet we got it all on video. “La Dolce Vita Style is now including private strip shows and entertainment during all transportation.” I mean come on, that is some great marketing. Needless to say, this was quite a fun group of students and we had a great weekend.
Another memorable event was during a ferry ride from Sorrento to Capri two weekends ago. The weather, despite all of our pleading, decided to not work with us and throughout our island excursions, it rained. No, it poured, was cold and windy. Traveling during rain is never a pleasant experience, but traveling to an island during uncooperative weather with 50 students is a nightmare. Once our ferry arrived, after being a good 30 minutes late, we boarded ready to get back to Capri. After settling into our seats, the crew walked around saying “sick drink, sick drink.” At first I was confused as to why he was asking us if we wanted drinks, normally you just go up to the bar and grab them yourself. As soon as we got out of the port and they began walking around saying “sick bag, sick bag” instead, did I fully understand what they were talking about. The next 45-minutes were filled with swells so big our ferry was on its side half the time closely resembling The Perfect Storm.
While I was not worried about getting sick and more worried about my safety, amused Stephanie was laughing, bouncing up and down as if we were on Splash Mountain at Disneyland. I wanted to kill her. I gripped onto my seat with one hand, and the seat in front of me with the other. I would be holding onto a piece of the boat and for some reason that was reassuring. My stomach flip-flopped, students shrieked and shouted, images of a bearded George Clooney flashed through my panicked mind, and the Italian crew, although kind, reassuring and still offering us sick bags, stood back and laughed at all the sensitive Americans.
Whether it’s an island boat tour with hysterical students acting as tour guides on the intercom, frightening but memorable ferry rides or jam packed train cars of clueless Chinese people, the journey of “getting there” is half the fun.