Try Traveling Solo! You’ll Thank Me Later!

I’m an artist, and one of my dreams was to go to Italy to paint.

I was hesitant to go alone, but one day I was reading one of my artist’s magazines, and found an ad in the back of the magazine about an “Artist Paint/Tour in Italy.”

The idea was to go to Italy and paint in Italy. Yep! I had to haul ALL my oil paints and supplies on the plane and travel from Florida to Italy!

The ad said that one day the group of artists would paint on site “en plein air,” and  the next day, the group would travel all around Tuscany. The home base would be Bagno Vignoni in Tuscany.

I decided right there and then, I was going! That was it! So, I contacted the “tour director,” and signed up!

I wanted to arrive early in Rome (the group of artists would leave from Rome for Bagno Vignoni) because I wanted to tour Rome first. So I gave myself three days.

As it turned out, when I arrived in Rome at the hotel, the concierge was able to connect me to a travel group that picked me up at my hotel every day. So, for three solid days, I went on tours of Rome – one tour in the morning – and one in the afternoon. I learned everything I could about Rome and experienced everything I could in three days of what Rome had to offer.

I made wonderful new friends on each one of the tours, and had a great time!

On the 4th day, the artist tour group picked me up at my  hotel in Rome and we all headed out to a 14th century hotel in Bagno Vignoni that used to be the Pope’s private retreat.

On the way out of Rome, headed for Bagno Vignoni in the van, I was able to tell my fellow artists all about the special places we passed by that I had just visited. I was the tour guide. No one could believe this was my first time visiting Rome and that I was traveling by myself!

I think I knew more about Rome than our own “tour director.” That being said, after numerous trips to Rome, he was more interested in interesting places to paint, rather than interesting historical monuments.

Bagno Vignoni was completely magical! It has natural hot springs, and the springs were right outside the hotel’s front door.

In the morning – as I stepped outside into the fall weather (it was October) the fog would hang over the pool of water in front of the hotel. It was completely surreal. Like being in an Italian painting!

Tuscany was completely enchanting! I met some life-long artist friends! I absolutely loved painting – and traveling – with this special group of artists. Artists are very unique as they bring to the table a different way of looking at things – the “artist’s eye,” so it was fun traveling with them!

We visited amazing cities in Tuscany,  including Pienza, San Gimignano, Siena, Florence, and painted amazing scenes. I’m so glad I decided to “go solo” on this journey, because the experience was one of my best travel experiences – ever – and the friends I made – were lasting to this day!

This is one of my paintings I painted from my Tuscany tour. This house was just down this hill from our hotel.

Tuscany 002

My suggestion? Follow your passion! Don’t be afraid to go to another country by yourself – even if you don’t speak the language or know anyone. Please make the call – reserve the room – follow your passion! You’ll thank me later!

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