I just spent a month in a city that I love — Florence, Italy.
And the best part of this "overseas residential vacation" was that my husband and I worked to use this vacation as a guide to integrate what we loved about Florence into our lives in Los Angeles.
Let me share a few things that you may use to integrate your vacation into your daily lives.
1. TAKE NOTES OF THE GOOD STUFF
I took daily notes in a purple (!) Florentine Journal of what we loved about being in Florence. It was FLORENCE, so it was easy. And it provided a "punctuation" time at the end of every day for us to spend some time just discussing the highlights of the trip.
For instance, I love walking everywhere, the "accidental" culture of a major orchestral playing in the nearby Piazza, the opera singer "street musician" of professional quality, the spontaneous lifestyle as my husband and I did not have every moment planned, the friendly Florentines (who told me what "Caio" really means and pointed out the role my renaissance family played with the Medici Dynasty, the museum card that let me walk into museums just before they closed and AFTER the tourists left; my husband loved Fiesole (which merits its own blog on its joys), he loved the FOOD, and more.
2. TAKE NOTES OF THE AWFUL STUFF
I took daily notes about what I did not like about the vacation.
We hated the crowds of tourists (some irony here, as we WERE tourists), we missed family and friends (and we were specific about which family and friends!), the turn of the century (1300 AD!) housing, not having easy access to a car, etc. We hated using a car — when we had to — in the horrendous Florentine traffic.
3. USE A CONSCIOUS APPROACH TO "CHANGE MANAGEMENT"
We used "Change Management" practices to ease the vacation transitions as a month in a new place requires some serious attention to transitioning.
My business (and love) is "Change Management," so, I took careful notes on how well we/I did with the transition into Florence. I noted that I really have to take care that I don't reject an apartment (and moan and groan) just because the toilets take 15 minutes of gurgling to flush, the rain pours into the atrium, and the floors have the original tiles (making walking treacherous) — or, I have to make finding a newer apartment (19th century?) a priority prior when planning the trip.
In any case, my husband and I agreed that instead of just reacting, we needed to take time during the transitions into Florence and re-entry into LA to talk through our anxieties. And that careful planning would be helpful for the future.
4. Talking about planning? My husband and I made a plan for how to implement some of what we loved about our vacation into our daily life.
We are walking more, spending more time on spontaneous enjoyment of sunsets (how hokey!), eating with friends, seeking out the specific cultural events that bring us joy, and imagining our life as "time bound" — which makes the need for gratification every day even more important.
5. Integration...We are slowly integrating our plan into our lives.
This is a work in progress… I'll keep you informed about how well we do as the "glow" of the vacation wears off.
We are planning more "residential vacations" for the future.
I hope you will also find some joy in this way of visiting another treasured location.