I am sitting in a cafe in Geneva, Switzerland, wearing a big smile on my face. I just had my first face-to-face meeting with a fellow WordPress blogger! How cool is that!? I hope this is the first of many such meetings. It is wonderful to connect online with so many people around the world, but to take it further and meet in person, when there’s a real connection and if it’s possible, is extra-special. I love technology!
The Italian leg of my journey is officially over and for the past few days I’ve been spending time with family, unwinding from my trip and switching my diet from Italian to Swiss (which includes consuming the best-ever fondue a couple of nights ago). Italy seems like a dream…a warm, still vibrant dream beating in my heart and being.
My visit to Italy included the cities of Villasimius (Sardinia), Rome, Cinque Terre, Lucca, Florence, Venice, Bologna, Verona, Naples, Sorrento, and Positano. Phew! It was a whirlwind of check-ins, trains, examining maps, and packing/re-packing. (And carbs, cheese, and wine.) Now that I’ve been in one place for the past few days, I am in de-compression/relaxation mode, and a heady exhaustion has set in.
I remember planning this trip months ago, a little part of me being almost unsure it was even going to happen, despite all the arrangements being in place. Was I really going to do this? How would it feel to be alone most of the time? Would the trains be difficult to figure out? How would I communicate? What would it be like to eat solo, in a country like Italy? Would I meet people, or keep to myself? What if I got lost? There were so many unknowns.
Of course, there was another part of me that knew it was going to be fine and amazing and life-changing. That people would be friendly. That if I needed help with my luggage at the train station, chances are there would be an Italian man nearby to assist me. That I would see the signs I needed to. That, in the moment, things would always work out – even in those moments that felt very challenging.
Right now everything is so potent and deliciously jumbled that it’s difficult to pinpoint highlights or write about a certain event or experience. And over the past week, the direction has been turning to home – making plans with friends, emails to and from work confirming my date of return, the weather here turning a bit chilly and grey.
And so, while I am enjoying the last few days of my sojourn (I head to London next), I can’t help but think about what I will soon be returning to. My same job…the one I initially quit, but subsequently decided to take a Leave from instead. My finances, which will now command much of my attention as I switch into ‘responsible’ mode to pay off my trip. (Ugh.) My hometown city, which I love and miss, but which is known for its wet and grey – and seemingly never-ending – winter. My co-workers, family, and friends, who I also love and miss, and can’t wait to re-connect with.
Things will be the same, but undoubtedly very different. How has Italy changed me? I know it has, but time will reveal the details. I’ve definitely gained some powerful perspective – life-changing I would say – on some personal matters, and I’m curious and intrigued to see how things unfold in these areas of my life.
But overall my intention is to just allow my routine to play out and trust that all those insights and experiences I’ve had in Europe have imprinted deep within me and will play out in the most perfect of ways. My job is not to ‘do’ or force anything, but to allow.
It was pretty easy to be in the moment while sitting in a cafe in the Meditteranean, drinking a glass of wine and soaking up the sun and sounds and sights all around me. But in those many (many) moments, I knew it wasn’t only about what was going on all around me. Those experiences are in me now – and I can nurture and cultivate them wherever I am.
I may not hear the beautiful language, I may not feel the hot sun on my face, the wine or cheese may not taste as good, and the demeanour of those around me may be much more reserved. But that’s when I bring the soul of Italy to my daily life. And make the effort to appreciate those uniquely hometown things that I have missed while I have been away.
I am grateful beyond words for this experience, and that I can bring its blessings home with me.
The adventure is ongoing.