Sometimes I just need to pinch myself and see if it is all still real. It’s been exactly 5 years, since we designed our travel lifestyle, quit our jobs, sold our home, most of our belongings, and hopped on a plane to Spain! We have such a rich, tranquil and quality life, with the diversity of Europe at our fingertips. Even though we have all of this, we still dream of future destinations. I’m hoping that some good quality time under the Tuscan sun is in our future too. Just imagine the fun of renting luxury houses in Italy.
As Alan mentioned before, our plans for the summer were to just stay at home in Spain and really just enjoy where we live, but then summer plans changed. We ended up spending a wonderful 3 weeks in the USA and good quality time with family. We returned to Spain the last week in August and within 2 days, my wheels were already spinning coming up with future vacation destinations. Of course I have my wish list, but I also like to fish around and get the family to tell me what they’ve loved from the past as well as their bucket list destinations.
With my excellent sleuth skills, I managed to reminisce with the family about places we have been and really get a feel for what they loved and didn’t care for. I didn’t have a particular travel period in mind, but I did have the upcoming school year calendar hot off the press, so I was trying to see what we could fit in during some of the holidays.
Fond memories of the past
Without fail, every time I bring up trips from the past the family brings up our 6 week European road trip over the summer of 2013. Not only was the entire road trip a success, but we spent 3 full weeks in various parts of Italy and those were some of the fondest memories. Yes, we live in Spain, but we also fell in love with Italy.
We also loved having a little splash of luxury during our summer 2016 eight week road trip, through Spain and France. So I always find it a challenge to figure out if we should venture out to new destinations or go back to something we love. We had a great time when we stayed at the luxury villa in Mallorca, but it would have been nice to share that experience with family or friends. So I just gathered all of this information from the family and enjoyed the walk down memory lane and set it all in that little filing cabinet in my mind.
Just a week after returning from the USA and a few days after that walk down memory lane, Gma Linda arrived to Spain. She is staying here for a month and rents an incredible luxury villa in our town. I think this is the 3rd time she has rented it in the past 5 years and during the month, she also invites various groups of friends from home to come visit her at “her villa”. It is great to have a vacation home for a month that is yours and others can come visit you!
Anyway, the first day she arrived we were sitting around chatting and she asked, what would we think of renting a luxury villa under the Tuscan sun sometime. Wow, we were just speaking about how much we loved Italy and then just a couple of days later Gma brings it up again. Of course we get to chatting more about it and kick off the dream for making it happen.
So what does that dream luxury vacation under the Tuscan sun look like?
Okay, so it starts out with renting a nice villa for a month, when the kids are out of school. That right there limits us to July or August, but we keep going with the dream conversation. The villa would need to be luxurious and make us feel pampered and have those amazing earth-toned colors of Tuscany. There would be vineyards all around with rolling green hills and beautiful blue skies.
The villa would have enough bedrooms to invite other friends to join in for a week or so. The mornings would be welcomed with the sounds of birds chirping, the smell of coffee brewing and a little breakfast out on the terrace. Of course we would have a pool, to enjoy a glass of wine, listen to music and have a refreshing swim in the afternoons. Then dinners would be made in our grand and well-equipped kitchen, to be enjoyed at the large dining table out on the terrace. The sun would set just over the farthest hill and our candles would begin to flicker. The wine, conversation and laughter would continue late into the night.
How’s that for a dream? I bet you would want to be one of those invited guests by now, right?
Okay I have to admit after that conversation I was sold, so the next day I had a little down time. That conversation was still spinning around in my head, so I started to search for luxury homes in Tuscany. I found some incredible homes and that dream is really out there, there are so many to choose from too. At first, I gasped with some of the prices, but then realized if the cost is shared by everyone it doesn’t have to be much more than a hotel.
Of course I still need to do more research on Tuscany and was going to bookmark all of my links and get back to this dream in a few months, but I didn’t want to lose that moment and conversation which was inspiring. So guess what, that is when this blog post was written. I wanted to capture our thoughts and dreams so we can get back to them a little closer to next summer. I was also thinking how many other people go through this same process and start to do the research? Maybe I should just write it all down and they could benefit from some of my pre-work as well.
My research thought process
When I am checking out a destination, even if we have previously visited, I usually go through a similar thought process.
- I first like to visit the general tourism board and see what they are trying to promote, what there is to see and do. Visit Tuscany
- Secondly I check out a wiki travel or wikepedia site, to see if there are any cool facts or tidbits I should know about. Don’t forget your wiki!
- Next it is on to your standard tour books and my go to for more than 30 years has been the Lonely Planet guides.
- Once I have a good feel for the exact area or region of interest, I move on to activities. I usually query to see if there are any tours offered, which I can build on my own or book with a company. Here are the tour companies I like to use.
- Then I move on to Trip Advisor for reviews of the area, activities and restaurants. Here is what they have for Tuscany.
There are also many organized tours for you to enjoy from being active on walking or biking tour, to enjoying a food or wine tour. There is so much to do and often there are many great offers for you. Click here to see the current deals available.
Is it a done deal?
Well, who knows? It is fun to have the dream and talk the talk. At this moment it is too soon to make summer plans 10 months out. For now, this will be a bookmark for me to come back and visit next Spring. After all we still have a few other holiday breaks to plan first, like a long weekend in October, one in December and Christmas break too. I just love it all!