Let me say straight away that I am not a person who joins tours. The idea of traveling with a group of people I don’t know gives me anxiety.
Did I also mention I hate getting up at the crack of dawn, having to report for breakfast at a certain time, and board any kind of a bus that there is no chance of escaping from?
Diane Lane’s character in Under the Tuscan Sun leaps from the tour bus when she catches sight of the villa that has captured her heart. Stop the bus! Yes, I am that girl.
There is a lot to be said for traveling on your own, as a couple or with a friend. It would take me counting on both hands a few times to rattle off the places I have been to in the world, blissfully on my own.
I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
When no one else is traveling with you, what experiences you have are singular. They have opened the doors for me to places and encounters with people I would not have had if I had been in company with someone.
It is a luxury to be able to look at Bernini’s sculpture of Apollo and Daphne in Rome for a good hour or so (which I have done on several occasions) and not worry if my partner is bored and ready to go.
On the other hand, it is wonderful to share awe-inspiring beauty and moments of enchantment with someone I love.
And here I am, putting small group tours to Tuscany together twice a year and oftentimes traveling with people I don’t know!
For those of you reading this who are not “tour people,” I understand your preference to plot it all out yourself. And whether you are a planner or an adventurer, traveling independently does give one a sense of being in control of one’s time.
So, if traveling to Tuscany is something you have always wanted to do, or want to do again, and you cannot imagine joining a tour, I invite you to consider the “It’s Really Not a Tour, Aria Tour of Tuscany.”
Because it really isn’t. I wish there was a word I could use instead of Tour to describe it. Trip or Excursion? Sounds like an afternoon out. Pilgrimage? I happen to love that description of travel, but somehow it sounds too serious.
I often find myself saying to people, “I am not a tour operator.”
Instead, I say things like, “I open the doors of beauty for people in Tuscany” or “I have created a week in Tuscany the way I like to do things and invite friends to enjoy it with me.”
Like what things?
Small group or independent #travel - what's your preference? Do you like to map out all the details yourself, or let someone else do the heavy lifting?
This didn’t happen overnight. Imagine if you made 50 trips to Italy by yourself, then sifted the most beautiful, tastiest, memorable, nurturing and inspiring experiences from the ones that were just okay, “touristy,” mediocre, confusing, disappointing, waste of time.
Well, I have done the sifting for you.
As one of my guests, Joanne A. from New York City put it, “By the end of the week, it felt like we were all family sitting around the table. Everyone should do this, at least once.”
So, if you want to travel on your own, I am the first to cheer you on. But if you have always dreamed of coming to Tuscany, why not come as a guest to my home, where the best of everything is already in place just waiting for you?
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