Thursday, September 26, 2013

Around Italy in 90 Days

The view in Tuscany
The woman drove up the narrow winding hillside roads through the Italian countryside in a small rental car with a manual transmission.  She was driving to meet a man she had met briefly over the internet and was going to stay at his house in the Tuscan countryside....

This woman was my mother and she was driving to Tuscany to meet a man she had met on for a place to stay.  I warned her, "this isn't a good idea....he could be a serial killer!"...  She ended up spending a lovely night in a guest house and sharing dinner with *Anthony, his wife and his children. Her daring adventure and wonderful experience inspired me to conduct my trip in a similar way.

A few months ago, I found a great site called  This site has hundreds of host families in each continent who are looking for "workawayers" to help out in exchange for room and board.  Tasks range from olive picking, and art communes to nannying and language teaching.  Creating a profile on workaway is kind of like searching for a job, you want to catch their attention and impress them with your skill set! 

I sent messages to several host families and ended up connecting with a small family in Pesaro, Italy.  We arranged that I will be spending two months there as a nanny to the children and helping with light household chores. In my free time I will be exploring the neighboring cites (Urbino, Rimini, Ancona etc), and participating in a local language exchange (hopefully I will be speaking fluent Italian on my return trip!).  When I have a few weekends off I will be exploring Bologna and Rimini through couchsurfing like my mom did two years ago!

Mom where she stayed
On, the spirit of couchsurfing is often discussed; those who participate in couchsurfing whether as hosts or surfers have a spirit of generosity, openness and a desire to share culture and experiences.  So far I have made tentative arrangements in both Bologna and Rimini as a surfer.  One unwritten rule of etiquette for couchsurfing is that the guest (surfer) bring a small present for the host or help cook a meal (so I need to find a few bottles of good wine to bring along!).

My last month in Italy, my friend Cari is flying in to Italy for 10 days; with such a short time we have to make them count!  We will spend 6 days in Venice and 4 days in Rome, celebrating her birthday the last night there (who wouldn't want to have their birthday in Rome?). After she leaves, my plans are up in the air until January 6th when I too will board a flight and head back to the states. 

If anyone has any suggestions for places I should see my last two weeks in Italy, please share!

*Name has been changed