There is a difference between what we think we should do and what we actually want to do. When we think “I should” a little bit of guilt and stress comes along with those words but when we think “I want” or do what we want to do, then we can feel more relaxed. That applies to all aspects of life including travel. On my last day on the Amalfi Coast, I thought I should go on the last hike with my G Adventures tour, but instead I decided to relax at the Agriturismo Sant’Alfonso, the tranquil farmhouse where we had been staying all week.
I had every intention of reveling in the joy of doing nothing but once breakfast was over, I started to feel the guilt. Maybe it was the obscene amount of peace and quiet on the farmhouse, but I thought about how I had come all this way and I was wasting time by sitting around when I could be off having another experience on my Italian adventure.
So I decided to go on my own hike just to go do something. I walked from the agriturismo to Bomerano, along the same path our group walked the other day on our way to the Walk of the Gods. It’s a challenging hike with lots of rocks and inclines and even though I was a little nervous to walk by myself, I still wanted to go. I guess that was my Cheryl Strayed moment?
I got my heart pumpin’ on the way up there, like I had so many times that week and which I grew to love, and I had to stop a lot more often to take sips of water because it was a lot warmer but it sure was beautiful and beat sitting at an office desk all day long. It was so quiet as I hiked up that I only heard my shoes crunching on the rocks and the tiny little lizards darting in and out of bushes. I made sure to stop and turn around and take pictures of the view.
Even though our tour guide Elisabetta said Bomerano was a nice little town, there really wasn’t much going on as far as I could see. It was definitely less touristy than Positano or Ravello but I sat down at a cafe to sip a cappuccino and people-watch before walking back to the agriturismo. After what seemed like a much shorter return trip, I was relieved to see Agriturismo Sant’Alfonso’s signature lone tree jutting out from the landscape and by the time I reached the house I had worked up a sweat that justified all the food I would eat for the rest of the day.
While I could not sit still and relax, my tour mate Ady was taking full advantage of the down time. I stayed with her and watched as she patiently waited with her camera for the tiny green lizards darting in and out of the cracks and crevices of the rocks to be still for a moment so she could take a photo. We pulled leaves and grass from the sides of the stairway leading down to the house so we could feed the chickens, goats, and geese that lived on the property.
But only after all that did I really just sit and relax. The agriturismo had a grassy area with comfy sofas that overlooked the coastline and the water. I sat there for a while sunbathing and listening to the wind chimes and the flys buzzing around me and the moments of quiet in between. Maybe I should have gone on the group hike or on a day trip to Capri, but I knew I didn’t want to feel guilty for not going. I wanted to feel content with my decision to stay put.
Laying there on the sofa I had to remember that I had been working all the week before in Bologna and I had been out and about all this past week and I was due a day of rest before going back home to work and my regular routine. I wasn’t missing anything because I was probably doing what any Italian would have done by enjoying the peace and quiet.
These reasons were my way of convincing myself that I was doing the right thing because I was afraid of what friends, family, or my other tour mates would think if I didn’t do anything and everything on the Amalfi Coast. How nice it would be though if I could accept that relaxing is exactly what I want to do and actually enjoy it! It’s so much easier not to be hard on oneself and be a little forgiving. Kicking back is something we all need once in a while and not something that should be sacrificed for what we think we should be doing, no matter if we are at home in our natural groove or at some beautiful, faraway place.
Have you ever felt a little guilty if you end up not doing everything on a trip?
*I paid for my own way on the “Local Living Italy – Amalfi Coast” tour with G Adventures and all thoughts and opinions are my own.