Ahhh…jet-lag! It’s 3:00 AM and I’m wide awake. My body’s assuring me that it’s time to get up; my brain is clicking into gear. Some small part of my mind wants to argue, but it’s not going to win.
As I was laying here in the dark, I remembered a picture Ron snapped as we passed through the Alps on our way from Milan to Genoa. With my face reflected in the train window and a picturesque little Italian village in the background, it serves a perfect image for my reflective thoughts on our trip.
I’m sure more insights will reveal themselves as the days and weeks pass, but some interesting thoughts surfaced this morning and I wanted to share them here. A few days ago Ron asked me if I felt this trip had been all I’d expected. I hesitated, not wanting to sound negative, because in so many ways the experience had been phenomenal, but I had to be honest—both with him and myself. I had some desires, some goals for the trip that just weren’t met. I wanted to write more. I’d imagined spending delicious hours in some sun-drenched piazza, on a hill overlooking the Tuscan country-side, or on our cruise-ship balcony writing to my heart’s content, letting the people, the beautiful scenery and the ancient sights inspire a flow of words like never before. Despite the hastily scribbled notes in my journal during the day and then trying to decipher my chicken scratch and transform it into coherent sentences before I uploaded it to my blogsite in the evening before I fell into bed exhausted, that didn’t happen.
As I wrote before, it was no one’s fault but my own. I made my choices. I set the pace. I held the leash. Other than a few attempts on my part to counteract that, nothing changed. I simply couldn’t justify indulging myself in that way. This was first and foremost our anniversary celebration and I truly wanted to spend the days with Ron and experience things together. That I did and, consequently, I hold no regrets on that account. It will be a time we look back on and treasure for many years to come.
There was a sense, too, of wanting to ‘find myself’ in some new and profound way. It’s become a cliché I suppose, especially with books/movies like Under the Tuscan Sun, Eat Pray Love and even, Letters to Juliet, where women (the fact that they were all writers hasn’t escaped me) go to Italy in search of that illusive something. So it begs the question, “What was I looking for?”
Is it possible that I was trying to find myself because that seemed like the appropriate thing to do on a trip that was, for us anyway, so out of the ordinary, so grand, so much a fulfillment of years of dreaming? If I went there trying to find myself, I think what I’ve discovered is that I wasn’t really lost!! There’s nothing available there that I don’t have access to here. In fact, I write much better here where I have my routine and my solitude. The experience has, however, broadened me, deepened me, and stretched me in ways that will undoubtedly add to the quality of my future writing.
Suddenly, I realize that it was all it was meant to be (all that I created it to be) and more. We were divinely guided (and we both understand even more that we are the ones ultimately doing the guiding!) We enjoyed ease and effortless flow as we let the trip unfold before us. So many times, we ended up in just the right place, bumped into just the right person or stayed in just the right location. The weather was a cooperative component—mostly sunshine, but not too hot. Train schedules serves our purposes—no long waits. A desire to leave several copies of my novels in Europe resulted in us connecting with fascinating people (a couple of them, authors). I’m thrilled to say that two copies of each of my books are in Italy, one copy of each is making it’s way back to the UK and a copy of each stayed with a delightful hotel receptionist we met in France. Over-all it was a syncronicity that we couldn’t have made happen had we not been trusting our greater Selves.
So as I reflect, I see that I ask too much of myself sometimes, I tend to overlook the plenitude of small gifts that constantly line my path. I can never be lost, never get disconnected from who I really am. And above all home is a wonderful place—one that I will be happy to come back to again and again, no matter where I wander. Thank-you, Italy, for allowing me to rediscover such basic truths!