In June 2014, my husband and I booked a trip to Italy for our 25th anniversary. We visited Italy several times over the years and were excited to revisit some of our favorite Southern Tuscany hill-towns: Montepulciano, Montechiello, Montalcino and Chianciano Terme. And, we looked forward to three special private vineyard tours arranged through a wine distributor friend. Because these towns were not too far apart, I felt confident renting a car and driving through the Tuscan countryside. These vineyard tours were “off the beaten path” and I relied on GPS to get us to our destinations.
One of our stops was at the Salcheto winery, known for its organic and biodynamic estate, just outside Montepulciano. As we were making our way to the vineyard, the GPS told us to “turn left” on what looked like a “mule trail” down a steep gravel hill. After turning onto the trail, I decided, Nope--this isn’t right and started backing up. I heard an awful crunching sound near the right back bumper. I stopped the car and Rick got out to check the damage. “Is it bad?,” I yelled. “It ain’t good, ” Rick replied. Sure enough, the back bumper was crunched in and damaged--I backed into a large rock.
Oh--Did I mention our rental car was a Mercedes? Rick was convinced the rental car agency would force us to buy the car outright because of the damage. I didn’t believe this to be true--isn’t that why you buy collision insurance? I got us out of the tight space and eventually turned the car around to rejoin the correct road...which took us down a hill with breathtaking views of the vineyard. We arrived!
What did I learn?
Apparently, you can’t always trust the GPS in the Italian countryside. If I had trusted my instincts...to go straight instead of left...I wouldn’t have damaged the car. How many times have we questioned our instincts? Thinking someone (or something--that’s you, GPS) knows better?
It took some energy to brush off the accident and gain some perspective. No one was injured. The car was still easily drive-able. In fact, now that my car was damaged, I suddenly noticed lots of cars with bumper damage! I wasn’t alone! How many times have we felt like we’re the “only one” who messed up? 100% of the time, we aren't the first and we certainly won’t be the last to make a mistake.
Don’t let a minor accident ruin an overall lovely experience. How many times has an unfortunate incident soured our overall enjoyment? The question is: How quickly can we pivot from, “aw man--what have I done? I’m an idiot!” to “Everyone makes mistakes” and move onward. We made it to the vineyard and enjoyed the beautiful vines with baby green berries (grapes), learned about biodynamic farming and enjoyed delicious wines in the Tuscan countryside.