I had my trip all planned out so I could walk around Venice and get to (finally) know the city. That didn’t happen. The trip was off to a bad start after the flight got canceled because of an air controllers strike in france 1and it got worse when on the 14th my credit limit foiled my plans to rent a car and make it to Bled in three hours.

Maybe some sort of Kismet or Fado was keeping me from reaching BledCom in time to be in the discussion panel. Either way, let me try to make something good out of my mis-adventures.

1. People are what make a trip memorable

The train was my only option with little hope of getting to Bled at a decent hour. In the process I met Filipe, an opera singer, and getting back to Venice I shared most of the trip with Liz and Steve.

Back in 2009 I had to spend the night in Nova Gorica where I met a slovenian who was heading to what he described as “Europe’s biggest heavy metal festival”. And when a trip means you’ll find old friends at your destination, it is even better.

2. Don’t just rely on Google

Here’s a good tip from Steve: If you’re traveling by train in Europe, check the DB.de, deutsche bahn website. Google Maps failed to provide a useful itinerary to reach Venice in time for my flight and the DB website provided the whole timetable in a few minutes.

3. History does repeat itself every once in a while

A few months before the trip I had promised myself that I wouldn’t take the train and find myself in Nova Gorica again.

Yeah, well …

Nova Gorica

Nova Gorica train station

**** There are a few things in my personal life that seem to be repeating as well. Some of which are pretty good. Here’s hoping.

4. “You’re not stubborn, you’re persistent”

Part of the conversation with Felipe went something like this.

Felipe: I hope you make it on time.

Bruno: Well, my mother gave me a gift that will help.

Felipe: What?

Bruno: I’m stubborn.

Felipe: You’re not stubborn, you’re persistent.

There is so much that makes sense in that sentence, being persistent and stubborn are in fact two very different things, two approaches towards the same end.

“You’re not stubborn,you’re persistent” was also a conversation i used to have with a friend very dear to me. It immediately brought back a flood of good memories that lasted for the rest of the trip.

5. Document your trip

No matter how good your memory is, you’re going to forget things. Take pictures, save notes and if you can build yourself a little travel notebook.

Use evernote, a moleskine, a pad and paper, anything. You don’t need to share it with the world or bother people with your vacation photos but do keep it at hand in case you need to look up a name or information, or in case you need to take the trip again.

One of the things I would like, would be to have a map showing where I met people and where they actually live in. If someone makes this happen with the evernote API, please send me a beta invitation!

6. Always take a book

We’re not always lucky enough to find someone interesting to talk too during a long train ride or waiting at a bus stop. (And we don’t do much talking to strangers on planes, at least I don’t.)

Whenever I travel I take a book, back in 2009 I know I read David Philip’s and Philip Young’s Book: Online Public Relations 2ed during the whole trip.

This time I have been reading “You are not a gadget” by Jaron Lanier.

But I mean a real book. Not a kindle, not an iPad, a book. Something other’s can look at and ask “what are you reading?”. Every once in a while this question actually translates to “I am bored in this long trip, want to chat?”.

7. Go offline every once in a while

I am going to try to log off more during the next 30 days. The plan is to schedule a time during the day or during the week when I switch off the phone and close the laptop and go do “whatever”. It helps to process ideas and refocus so that you can be more productive when you in fact do get back to work.

That is what I believe in since watching this video.

I do feel motivated to write and read more after being mostly offline during the weekend.

Bonus tip: Don’t just share the boring stuff.

  1. Ironically it is the second time that french air controllers decide to re-arrange my travels. Guys, if you’re reading this, we should talk. You were protesting the Single European Airspace project and in the process showed just how much we need it. Talk about shooting yourselves in the foot… 

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