Business, Wine, a Travel Bag and an Italian in Rome

Business, Wine, a Travel Bag and an Italian in Rome

They say once an expat, always an expat. Since I left that little flat in South London for the last time, roads, railway stations and airports have become a part of me. It seems to be the ultimate fix I crave for. 

However, they say, you can’t have a picnic without ants. And for me, that’s packing. I hate it. Fortunately, this time, I could afford to travel light with my Explorer Travel bag which in a nutshell is a suitcase in a handbag.

Now, there are two things I cannot say not to. One, a good business proposal and number two – Italy, even though most popular Italian destinations have been over-sold lately. So, in May 2017, when another Briton and a potential client asked me to pop over to Rome, it was a no-brainer.

It was going to be a quick 3-night trip, so I had to plan carefully what to take. My goal was to impress my client, bag the deal and spend the rest of the days in and around one of the world’s most iconic cities.

So, when the day came I packed in my formals and casuals, laptop, iPad and camera and I was away.

The Explorer Travel Bag is that perfect companion for little business trips like these. Its smart looks let me go straight to the meeting if I need to. My Mac sits snug in a padded chamber. And this nifty little bag actually opens up completely like a suitcase that lets me neatly pack in my meeting formals.

After a successful meeting…

Once the business part was done, I was out. First, I was off to the old citadel to avoid the touristic trap and enjoy some authentic Italian food.

Here's a tip. Find a place where you see middle-aged Italian sitting and waiting patiently for Mama-style cooking. It might take a while for the food to arrive but when it does, it'll leave you with a taste in your mouth for a long time.

Rome fascinates me. I find hidden gems everywhere. I had to go and revisit the Flavian Amphitheatre – aka the Colosseum. Nowhere in the world, has there been a grander setting for entertainment and mass manslaughter. A symbol of Roman power and architecture, this monument is an active time machine that instantly thrusts me back to the past.

I love Italians. Every stereotype that is attributed to them is probably true. They're passionate, loud, funny, argue noisily and happy to invite you to family dinner within 15 minutes of meeting you.

So, I went to see such a 'friend' named Eugenio who I met in the summer of 2012, here in Rome. And there I was sitting with his family again and drinking Chianti. Amazing people.

I took out my SLR camera from my Explorer Bag. It has these nylon waterproof chambers that allow me to safely keep the camera lenses, knowing they'll be safe from exploding shaving gels and lotions (which happens to me a lot).

After capturing some colorful happy moments, I said 'Addio' to Eugenios family and we headed off to the Temple of All Gods – the Pantheon. After marveling at the dome of the 'world’s only architecturally perfect' building, it was time to wind down a bit.

I thanked Eugenio for his hospitality, took out a bottle of old single malt from my bag and gave it to him as a present.

Finally, after a long day, I was happy to be back at the hotel. I took out my Mac, fired open Word and stared blankly at the screen for a while. I looked at my faithful travel companion, the Traveler that was lying open on the bed.

I started unpacking. Suddenly my thoughts went back to that little flat in South London. I missed it but knew I was happy to be here.