There are different types of travelers. First timers filled with trepidation and excitement. Some take travel steroids and hit one city after another racking up cities for bragging rights. The frugal fanatic is hell bent on getting the most for the least. Some travel for work, I was amongst this group for a very long time. I got to see a lot of incredible places while shooting television shows in Russia, the Middle East, all over Europe and South America.
There was little to no time for taking in the sights. I jokingly referred to these travels as location scouts for future vacations.
So when I decided to travel less for work and more for pleasure I became a site-specific traveler. The way I like to travel is to stay in one place and drink in the rhythms of a place. In order to do this I usually rent a house or an apartment for at least a week before I move onto my next location.
I started this travel habit twelve years ago. I was turning 50, got a big tax return and wanted to fulfill my dream of living in the south of France, albeit for only a month. I invited friends to join me, the only caveat: no bossing or guilting people into doing things. This was their vacation as well. And please let me cook a few really good meals. My friends obliged happily.
In fact, the same group of friends and I would rent houses for the next three years in Spain, Italy and Denmark until children and jobs prevented our group excursions.
My penchant for renting apartments or houses continued as I traveled to Buenos Aires, finding a dirt-cheap two-bedroom apartment in Palermo Viejo, an area with a very Soho, NY vibe—small shops, neighborhoody, great restaurants.
My last big trip was to Italy, staying five days in a Roman AirBNB in Trastevere.
In Naples I stayed in a small hotel in the Spanish Quarter. Picked up a rental car and drove to Puglia to stay an incredibly unique trulli in Cisternino.
The trulli was home base in which to explore the small surrounding villages along the Adriatic Sea and return home to cook and relax.
This unique area of Italy feels more like Greece with its whitewashed villages.
I have stayed in small hotels on other trips but it is always the apartments that pull me in. I’ve often questioned why? Could it be as simple as being a tea drinker who hates hotel tea that tastes like coffee or that I don’t like to put on make up for breakfast? Or is it that I crave tapping into the area, its pace, exploring markets and chatting with the sellers and cooking meals from the fish or veggies purchased at the market. I like getting lost and discovering small gems along the way. Whatever the reason my first option is always an apartment or house that is part of instead of apart from the town or city. From there the world opens up and I never know what I’ll discover.