There are people who define themselves as true nomads. A tent or changing a hostel a day is the same to them, because looking around is the only thing that matters.
And then… there are travellers like me (and many of you), who like travelling but need a place to call home no matter where they go and how long they will stay.
Maybe you don’t know that this kind of strange home-loving-nomads are able to learn much about their destination and enjoy it also thanks to the accommodation.
From Costa Rica beach house to the interior living philosophy of Northern Europe, from the small classy apartments in the hearts of European cities to the crazy interiors and window views in Valletta, let’s see some kind of accommodation that will allow you to learn a lot about your destination and live it like if you were home.
A place to enjoy the landscape
There are countries whose essence and local philosophy of life is bound to local wild nature, with vegetation that you’ll hardly see anywhere else in the world.
Costa Rica (the happiest country in the world according to the happy planet index) is an example of it. Green and peace is what makes the difference in this country that is actually one of the most peaceful (in all senses) and safe in the world.
Costa Rica is the headquarters for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and there’s the seat of the United Nations‘ University for Peace, they have no defence army and local policies are aimed at the peaceful wellbeing of citizens.
If you visit this country, a home in the green where the sound of the air and water is a constant companion is what you need to get into the local mood. A place that lets you fully enjoy the contemplation of that immense wildness, allowing you to discover and understand more than what you could get from dozens of travel guides.
Northern attitude and way of life, conveyed through the interiors
Those who know me personally and those who follow me on Instagram (from this moment on, you’ll be one of them, right? 😉 ) know that I have two attitudes: the first is to try to live with few, little frills, giving space just to the important things and the bare essential: I periodically get rid of the unnecessary and make room for new things. I try to be as less detrimental as possible to the environment both with my eating and living habits.
I learned when I was in Stockholm that in Sweden they have a name for this attitude, i.e. Lagom.
Lately, I’ve grown fond of a new (for me) northern Europe concept: the Danish Hygge. I have always wondered what was that sense of well-being I feel with soft lights on, candles, a comfortable sofa, a good book and a few loved ones next to me. No need to talk (I understand this may sound weird for an Italian girl), sharing silence is a way to get more intimate.
I thought the only reason of this attitude was that I’m not 20 years old anymore and I’ve become boring but that wasn’t an acceptable explanation, since I was like that even in my 20s.
Then I understood that this attitude, quite weird in Italy where we like to go out and have fun, talk much and make noise, has an exact name in Denmark, and it’s Hygge (I learned it thanks to my passion for interior design to tell the truth), that is, happiness in the messy but cosy intimacy of one’s home.
I do not know why I love hygge… maybe because when I was a creature of the enchanted forest I lived in the North.
I recommend that you take a long trip to Sweden and / or Denmark and spend time with the locals if possible, to understand this aspect of both countries and make it somehow “yours”
If you can, go there during the long cold season: it will be hard at the beginning but you’ll learn about the importance of waiting. Waiting for the snow to melt, waiting to have something interesting to say before talking. And you’ll get the importance of sharing. Sharing moments of intimacy, sharing the same sofa while doing two different things and sharing silence.
Local history experienced from a home in the old town
What’s the main feature that distinguishes Mid and South Europe (quite crowded) towns from the rest of the world?
I’ll tell you what: architecture and history, what in Italy they call the Centro Storico.
Old towns are full of history and still highly populated in Europe: they keep on being the beating heart of city life. No matter if there’s no space to park the car or the personal living space is very tiny, no matter the city and crowd noises, living in the old historic area is still the most fashionable and enviable opportunity in Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Portugal, England.
If you come from the North of Europe or from any country where the personal living space is very wide (US, Canada, America, Scandinavia) I suggest you spend a period living in an apartment located at the heart of an old historic town.
You’ll learn about the importance of being close to people, the charm of communicating from one window to the other as if mobile phones had never been invented, the challenge of a true, not virtual, community.
Living in a small historic apartment in any old town of any European city will make you live, love and understand the past and the bonds between history and modernity of any of these places.
Try and imagine having your first coffee in the morning while watching out of the window of an apartment in the heart of Montmartre in Paris.
It will be like having your first portion of local discovery while you relax and have breakfast.
Do the same in Valletta.
This is one of the weirdest cities in Europe, with both an Arabic and European landscape, and an architecture that tried to imitate the colonies’ style but can’t help preserving an original and unique touch.
Choose your apartment in one of the lovely old towns in Italy and, after a couple of days, you’ll have neighbours and… friends that will be friends forever.
Travelling also means this, in the end: living, loving, learning… being shocked by local culture.