“A ticket for the first flight, please”.

God, how I wanted to say this sentence at the airport counter. Are last-minute agencies still a thing? At the beginning of 2000s, they allowed you to leave within a few hours after showing up at the airport with a suitcase suitable for any destination. So stupid, I’ve never done it and now I regret it.

You can obviously do that by car. Every night, every Saturday, every Sunday.

I suggest, however, an exercise. First of all, I know that we all have a few days of vacation left and it would be better if we used them by the end of year, with all due respect to employers and personnel department.

  1. Pick two Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday up to Christmas (stop procrastinating. You are useful at work, but you can definitely take 2 days off in 2 months. No, there will be no right time. It will happen. Just like flu happens).
  2. Go to the bookstore and get yourselves a good book. Better yet, two.
  3. Start reading the book that inspires you the most a couple of days before your day off. If you do not love it, give it away. And move on to the next book.
  4. Install Trenitalia, Italo, Trenord app. Subscribe, save your details and be ready to buy a ticket at the speed of light.
  5. The X-day, wake up early and, armed with a good book, a blank page, a pen and full of smiles, enter the station.
  6. Buy yourself something good to munch-on. A snack you love, Rodeo for example, or that it is made with love. The baker’s cake, not the supermarket’s, the pastry’s brioche, not the bar’s.
  7. Choose a train from the board. Not just any train: one that will make your heart skip a beat. A place you’ve never seen, a train you’ve always read but never taken. Or one whose intermediate stop is new to you. Lucca, not Florence. Basel, not Zurich. Monza, not Milan.
  8. You can easily buy tickets at the station. Or, if the train is about to leave, the app is perfect. Especially since we’ve already set it up…
  9. On board, en-joy! The little treat good to eat, the book you already know you’ll like, the landscape flowing, the neighbors you can smile to without being ashamed, the controller to whom you can ask how is the day going (no one ever does – this will make you happy and brave).

The new city you land needs no TripAdvisor, Google Maps nor MaxGuide. 

It needs your desire to look around, to discover a corner just walking by, to see you sitting in a small cafe that makes you feel like a local, to see you smell, taste and take note of how you feel, how beautiful a gift from you to you is. Maybe, it only costed 5 euros, as a round trip on a regional train, but it is priceless. Leaving aimlessly is a little affordable luxury, a great gift we can really give ourselves.

Have a good trip!