The good traveler

A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. – Lao Tzu

Yesterday I had fixed plans to publish my post on time, but being the good traveler that I am…this did not happen. And I thought This is just the moment to talk to you about “Italy Time”.

At UC Berkeley, when the class is listed as starting at 10am, it actually starts at 10:10. This is called Berkeley Time. Italy time is much less precise.

Italian-Swiss trainItalian public transportation is notorious for running late. They have a schedule of arrivals and departures but people rarely consult them because everything runs so late. If you are really lucky, you drivers or conductors will go on strike that day. This happens fairly often.

It’s easy to tell when you’ve crossed over into Switzerland.

This can be really frustrating, but its also kind of endearing I think. It gives character! Even in this small city I’m in now (San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily), kids rejoice when the bus drivers go on strike and they don’t have to go to school. Those kind of experiences are pretty cool. Like snow days. For the rest of the US snow days probably aren’t received so affectionately, but to this California girl, it sounds like a sweet deal.

Italian public transit epitomizes today’s quote–even if you have fixed plans, sometimes you just aren’t going to get where you thought you were going. “Travel” is just the word in an ancient language for “Planning is futile”.


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