Part 1 - Italy Trip 2010, going with the flow

Many of my friends and coworkers want to know how my vacation was.  Logistics were great, Food and Wine were awesome.  Had great time to reflect and think.

It took us 24 hours to get from our home in Seattle to our hotel in Rome.  So, it was a trek.  We used mileage points, so our choices weren't ideal and we ended up flying SEA  - SFO - LHR - FCO.  There were some flight delays, but our layovers were long enough that it didn't affect the overall time.  Slowing down, going with the flow is something I've learned with travel

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” - Lao-Tzu

No matter how much structure we create in our lives, no matter how many good habits we build, there will always be things that we cannot control — and if we let them, these things can be a huge source of anger, frustration and stress.

The simple solution: learn to go with the flow.

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”- Thich Nhat Hanh

Air travel can be extremely frustrating if you don't go with the flow.

My trip to Italy was a 50th Bday present and we went to the city of Montefollonico where we attended a cooking/travel destination

Montefollonico is the orange pin marker between Florence and Rome.


Here is town on Bing maps.


Montefollonico is a town of 600 off the the beaten path.  The town has escaped the notoriety of towns like Cortona where the author for "Under the Tuscan Sun" lived.

6 days of living at a small country town pace, a 15 room Hotel La Chiusa, a daily routine of 2 hours of cooking, 2 hour lunches, 2 hour of site seeing, then a 3 hour dinner, and less than 15 minutes a day of wifi (thanks to thick stone walls you need to be next to the antenna), it was a nice break.







I had some great business discussions with Bill Sutherland, the owner of Tuscan Women Cook as well.  Our discussions fit well to ask why you are doing what you are.  Bill picked up from Texas selling his commercial real estate business to live in Tuscany and run a cooking business.


Note all you iPhone users, I did have my iPhone, but I never connected it to the cellphone network. Why? 

International data roaming can get expensive quickly.

For example, opening an email with a 5 megapixel picture in it, or downloading a 3-minute video on YouTube, each takes about 2 MB of data. The cost would be almost $40, based on pay-per-use international data rates of $0.0195/KB.

What can you do to minimize your international data charges?

  • Turn Data Roaming "OFF": By default, the setting for international data roaming will be in the "OFF" position.
    To turn data roaming "ON/OFF", tap on Settings>General>Network>Data Roaming

    • – Turning "OFF" data roaming blocks email, browsing, visual voicemail and downloads, but it will not block text or picture/video messages.
    • – When abroad, international roaming rates apply when you send text or picture/video messages.
    • – To access audible voicemail when data roaming is “OFF”, tap on Phone>Voicemail. International roaming voice rates apply.
  • Utilize Wi-Fi instead of 3G/GPRS/EDGE: Wi-Fi is available in many international airports, hotels and restaurants to browse the Web or check email.

There were plenty of people on the trip who had their phones on and were checking e-mail.  We'll see if they are ready for the AT&T bill.  Getting a bill of over $1000 is not unheard of.

We used Skype on a PC connected to wifi worked great to talk to our kids. And they had a blast calling from their iPod Touch with a headset.  I would use gmail's SMS feature to send a text to our babysitters and they would tell the kids Dad was online and they could call.

I did figure out a bunch of things related to data centers when I was on trip, but here is a little background before I start down the path of things figured out.  Just because I was disconnected, relaxing, eating and drinking, doesn't mean my brain stopped thinking.  :-)