When you hear the number 12, what do you think? Probably not much because it’s only a number and not very insightful. But if you were told to use the number 12 to compose a travel plan, how many different ways do you think you could incorporate it? I used this idea of weaving 12 into every part of the day when approaching my experimental tourism assignment in which I chose the topic of twelve travel. The book The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel gave suggestions such as taking a train that left at 12:12 or buying a ticket for 12 euros to see where it takes you. I took on this challenge and this is the story:
Date: March 13th (I missed the 12th by one day)
Time: 9:00 AM-9:00 PM
Location: Florence, Italy
Mission: Accomplish 12 tasks in 12 hours
Before starting the assignment, I planned everything. On a sheet of paper, I scribbled the numbers one through twelve leaving spaces for the activities I would do around Florence. One at a time, the ideas came rolling in. First, I would go on a 12 mile run, next eat lunch at the rooftop café overlooking the Piazza de Republica, then walk through the Medici Palace, and so on. Here is the complete list:
- 12 mile run
- Boboli gardens
- Lunch at Piazza de Republica
- Medici Palace
- Public library
- Santa Maria Novella
- Dinner at nicer restaurant
- Grocery shopping at Conad
I also added some rules to the day:
- use 12 Italian words: allora, bella, rosso, cane, cibo, etc.
- take only 12 bites or sips when eating a meal
- take 12 pictures
Throughout the day, this list had to be modified. Carolyn, my roommate who joined me on several of these activites, and I nixed the Boboli gardens and Fiesole, a nearby town, knowing that we would get to these places on a later date when we could allow ourselves more time. To fill these gaps in the schedule, we rode the merry-go-round in the Piazza de Republica and stopped in a dainty macaroon shop. These were both spur of the moment ideas, but some of my favorite parts of the day. When we found the doors of the Bargello, we also discovered that it was closed on Fridays. Therefore, we filled the time by watching teenage skateboarders attempt to put on a show in front of Santa Maria Novella.
The fact that the unplanned parts of my day were the best reminds me of the uncontrollable ways of life. From the experience, I was shown by the universe that plans don’t always go as expected. This is not a new concept, for I have been told and have experienced this time and time again. I believe this is a message I need to keep in mind especially at this point in my life. So often I find myself stressing over future plans of college graduation, living arrangements, or graduate school. Not to say, forget planning, but I think everybody, myself included, needs to keep in the back of their minds that plans or outcomes change in order to better adapt to the current situation. Though it might not be what you expected, it can often turn out to be even better.
A plan to stick with