Suzy Guese, travel writer extraordinaire, has spent the summer living in Italy. While soaking in the Italian lifestyle, she’s also been taking a number of shorter trips around Europe and writing about her experiences at suzyguese.com. She writes one of our favorite travel blogs, so check it out. Suzy claims that she has a red-headed temperament, and brings a young, fresh perspective to the European locations she’s been visiting. We asked her about spending a summer in Italy, and here’s what she had to say:
I decided to rent an apartment in Florence for the summer and travel around Europe in the process. So far, I have only been in Florence a few weeks at a time. I met up with family in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. I rented a car and drove throughout southern Italy, traveling through Campania, Basilicata, and Puglia. I have also made weekend trips to northern Italy, Austria, and Switzerland. I just returned from a week traveling around Portugal. I leave this week for a week in Spain. Closing out my three months in Europe, I will explore Rome before heading home to Colorado. (Deep breath) It has been the most “on-the-go” traveling for me, exhausting and exhilarating at the same time.
Yes, Suzy, it really does sound difficult. All of that Italian, Portuguese, Austrian, and Spanish food must really be getting to you! Perhaps you should mail some of it home to us instead of eating it all yourself.
Suzy said that she decided to base her trip in Italy because of her college experiences in the country. She studied abroad for awhile, learned Italian, and later returned to the country to foster her writing career. She said, “In the end, I have spent more time on the road than in Italy, but I am glad to have new travel experiences to decorate the map.” We also asked Suzy about her traveling motivations, and she replied, “I crave those connections with people and places outside my zone of familiar. Traveling helps me quite a bit in being more independent, assertive and open.” We agree completely – seeking experiences outside of one’s comfort zone is one of the most popular reasons to travel.
On the topic of one’s comfort zone, we also inquired if she learned anything about herself while traveling.
In Portugal, I learned I was much more adventurous than I think I am by trying dishes when I didn’t even know what they contained. In Milan, I learned public transportation is not something to fear, and something I welcome now. No matter where I am, there is a mark left on me, some I wish I could cover and others I proudly boast. Travel will show you things about yourself you may love and other things you don’t.
Naturally, since we’re so budget-minded, we probed about Suzy’s travel costs. She replied:
Before I left, I made sure I had a cushion of money so that if I did end up spending more (which is usually the case), I could still be comfortable and not limit my travels. Initially, I lived at home to save up money for my trip this summer. Also, I worked throughout traveling. I know I am extremely lucky to have a job that allows me to work and travel, being location independent. Most of the time, whatever I was spending, I was making at the same time. I did cut back on eating out. I also saved money by renting an apartment in Italy, rather than just staying in hotels and hostels.
Look at all your options. Sometimes you think you can’t travel because you don’t have the money, but it just might be possible. Many times I thought, “Oh, I can’t hop up to Austria for the weekend”, but I would make it work. I would sacrifice that beer out in Florence or fine dinner so I could take those weekend trips. Set your priorities and stick to them. There should be no excuse not to travel if you are determined.
We completely agree, prioritizing is very important. Sometimes you have to give up a few luxuries to stretch your coins into a few extra days of travel.
Bryan has visited exactly one more country than his wife, and she won’t let him forget it! Also an avid photographer, he enjoys entrenching himself within the local culture in order to learn more about the people of a place. He is the co-founder of Budget Your Trip and loves a good adventure, an exotic meal, or a passionate conversation about global events.