It’s my Achilles heel, my fatal flaw and my arch-nemesis.
What is it about putting things off that feels so good, so right?
In my other life, work was a constant triage of the following;
What is important and needs doing.
What is important but not critical.
What is not important or critical but needs immediate attention was the most prevalent.
Things would inevitably slips from one day to the next.
There is only so much time in a day, even when I would put in an extra 2 hours beyond the required 8 each day, there was always more work.
I resigned myself that no matter how organized I was and how proactively I dealt with the everyday crises, it was never going to be smooth.
So I resigned.
I had things running as well as I could and head tidied away many loose ends before I left.
What I did learn from it to combat being chronic procrastinator.
- Make a list.
- Break larger problems down into smaller ones.
- Tackle the most important items to you first.
- Cross things off that list.
- Feel good about that.
How does this relate to travel? Travel doesn’t give you time to procrastinate, one of the commandments I stuck to was:
There will be 10 more amazing things down the street instead of that queue.
There will always be a better deal.
There will always be another opportunity even if you think there isn’t.
I put this into practice in Venice.
As one of my workmates recounted from his time there “What time does the themepark close?”
It is a wonder no doubt, there is good reason why its a tourist rite of passage.
I also am glad I did a little ground work in booking this part of the trip.
Book accommodation in Venice
Accommodation there for the most part will be more expensive than most other places through Italy, but the hassle it will save you is worth it.
I chose the Jewish ghetto which is the north-west(ish) of Venice Island.
It was close to the station, minimizing the amount hauling luggage over bridges. Venice hates your luggage, I can’t stress this enough, it will take sadistic pleasure in seeing you haul it from the station all the way to San Marco, over bridges, steps, small children.
You could hire a man porter, a water taxi or try your luck with a Vaporetto.
But upon arrival you wont know which way is up.
So I chose somewhere close and accessible.
It was also close to a Vaporetto (water bus) that serviced the Airport too which turned out to be the best, most convenient and probably cheapest option of exiting to the Airport.
Get a Vaporetto pass!
It’s the same concept as taking sight-seeing paths that follow along the Metro lines, at worst you can jump the metro back to familiar territory.
Best value is the several day pass, which also services the other islands in the Lagoon such as Murano, the glass blowing factory island, Burano the colorful collision of Cinque Terre with a mini Venice, Lido the stretch of beach beyond Venice to cover a few.
Even during my most wayward sojourns in Rome, Tuscany, Florence when my iPhone was about to run out of batteries, or the tourist maps were a little out of date was I as turned around and inside out as I was in Venice
Venice is like that movie inception, even with a GPS and a tourist map.
In every other place I had a reference point In Rome it was Vittorio Emanuele II Monument in the middle ( You really can’t miss it..), In Tuscany it was the coast to the West, In Florence it was the Arno River running East to West and the inescapable Duomo. All that learning how to navigate and orienteer playing DayZ finally paid off.
Venice has landmarks (or watermarks) but chances are you will be in an alleyway so tight you can’t fit your wheely suitcase behind you and can’t see them.
As the Siberian and I were returning from a trip to San Marco as night was falling we had the following discourse.
“We came this way, now we must return this way.” she said.
“Ok, I remember this part because that’s Rialto bridge, we spotted it through that alleyway there, see? Then we crossed over and I bought some silk ties from that shop. But we turned around and crossed back over to go down to San Marco.”
“Nyet, clumsy New Sealand, you are wrong.”
“Look I know I have been sure about things before and been wrong, but I’m right about this.”
“I do not think you are right this time durak.”
I could feel the unease kick in, my iPhone was dead and useless at this point, I stupidly didn’t put on my walking shoes either for the walk to San Marco and they now felt they were full of broken glass. I was certain that if we crossed back over Rialto bridge we would be wandering the heart of Venice getting further from the apartment with each wrong turn.
“Okay, I need you to trust me, I just want to get home, the same as you. If I am wrong, I give you permission to slap me in the face as hard as you like.”
“Da, this is acceptable.”
Needless to say I smugly got us back to the Jewish Ghetto unslapped.
Had we a vaporetto pass, we could have headed for the grand canal and been dropped practically at the doorstep.
This illustrates the mind-bending effects of Venice, its just a few wrong directions away from breaking out into a carnival masked version of Lord of the Flies, I’m convinced the concept for the game Bioshock was birthed from an experience like this.
Don’t get attached, keep walking
I discovered this on Murano the glass blowing factory island.
I had done some research the night before with Siberian while downing a bottle of Proseco, dining on cherries and a wedge of Romano Cheese I found for €1.50 in a Venetian supermarket.
Murano had somewhat of a reputation in being a tourist trap to rival the Saw movies.
The hawkers would offer free vaporetto rides there, give a demonstration of glass blowing, then put the screws on you to purchase something expensive.
So the next day we made use of our own unlimited vaporetto passes to go there ourselves in search of glass baubles of our own.
“Just keep walking” was the mantra of the day.
The further we ventured in the less pretentious the shops became and the better the prices, until we hit that sweet spot and left with an armful of magic suspended in blown glass at a price I could justify.
In general its a good mantra to keep to in life.
Don’t let things mess with your mood, your day, your plans, just keep waking, there’s plenty more amazing things with every step.