Today was the last day of quite an eventful 22 day road trip through Southern Europe. After returning to Milan, dropping my friends off at the airport, and returning the rental car, I am finally on foot, alone with my 35 liters and no specific direction. My feet led me to the central train station in Milan, and with the general intention of working my way to the balkans over the next few days, I hopped on the first train to Venice. Already within several hours of parting with my friends, quite a lot has changed, the most evident of which is pace. Following a jam packed journey averaging more than one city and 250 kilometers per day, I finally have the chance to slow down, take a breath and have a base for at least a few days. Getting lost for hours in the streets of Venice in search of cheap accomodation has brought me to a nice, central, family run hotel from which I can rest, read, write, sleep in a bed (it has been a while), and enjoy the city as I plan out the next few day of traveling. With barely any internet access or time alone over the past few weeks, this period will also present an opportunity to publish a good portion of the road trip posts I have planned, pending computer access to upload photos and videos. Although the near future is pretty uncertain, I do have some general plans for the next few months. In September, I will most likely be working on a vineyard for approximately three weeks in Italy through WWOOF, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, an organization that puts volunteers in touch with aid-seeking farms. I have contacted many vineyards over the past few months, of which three have replied with availability and interest. Over the next few days I hope to make a decision and confirm dates. Further WWOOFing will lead me to Riparbella, a small town in Tuscany, in November. There, I will be helping for 3-4 weeks on an olive farm during their harvest. I had originally hoped to spend some time working in France to improve my French, but limited availability on farms has made this unlikely for 2014. Maybe next year I will have more luck, but in the meantime, tempo per imparare l’italiano! In order to accommodate a stay of up to 6 or 7 weeks in Italy later in the year, I need to make sure that I don’t overstay in the Schengen. The Schengen region of Europe allows a stay of up to 90 days in any given 180 day period, encompassing 26 member countries. Since I have already stayed for 22 days, and hope to add another 45 or so down the road, most of August and October needs to be dedicated to non-Schengen countries. And what better place to start than in Croatia. By Friday, I should be on one of the several daily ferries heading to the Southern coast..stay tuned.


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