As I sit here with a good dose of jetlag, I reflect on the incredible adventure I’ve just had. I’ve travelled before but this was a different trip, perhaps it’s where I am in my life right now, maybe it’s the fact that I’ve come home to my new life, without the security of my 35 year career. Or it could just be a mix of everything, with all the excitement, anticipation, and a little nervous energy of throwing myself full throttle into the next chapter of my life.
Whatever it is this trip showed me a different perspective and appreciation for all the people I have in my life and my life as a whole.
A trip that changed a little part of me, as I travelled through five countries, embracing the culture of each. From jumping off cliffs (well small ones) to floating in the blue lagoon of Comino Malta, to swimming in varying parts of the Mediterranean. From sleeping in a castle, to walking the ocean cliffs in Cinque Terre Italy, which brings the five villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore together. From wineries to the historical architecture in Rome.
I enjoyed an Italian cooking class in Rome which taught me new skills, that those in my life will surely appreciate. From having dinner in one of the most photographed cliff top restaurants in the world, to spending a night in a Trulli house in Alberobello Italy. From visiting the opulence of the Vatican, to seeing the gift that is the Sistine Chapel. From the rolling hills, vineyards and hay bales of Tuscany, to the magic of Lake Como. From the excitement and liveliness of Madrid to the quiet, peace and greenery of Switzerland. From the majestic Eiffel Tower to the cheekiness of Moulin Rouge. The coliseum, to the Trevi Fountain. And everywhere in between.
From indulging in everything Nutella- nutella croissants, nutella crepes, nutella pastries, nutella, nutella and more nutella. To sampling many a red wine and glass of rose. From my love of Maltese pastizzi’s, to pizza, pasta, Swiss schnitzel, tapas, pastries, baguette’s and gelato. My waistline may not be rejoicing, but my tastebuds certainly are.
How do you sum up such a trip? How do I articulately paint the picture of everything that I experienced, and every feeling that I so vividly and rawly felt? I discovered a part of my heritage in Malta, something I didn’t even know was missing, was found in those few glorious days there. I discovered some new energy and let go of some old energy as I traipsed across Italy- realising that I had been hanging onto some things that needed to be gently taken away with the Italian breeze. I discovered some new space in my heart for the beauty of Switzerland, France and Spain.
It’s funny how you can be so far away from home and everything you know, and discover new parts of yourself. Little pieces that have been waiting to shine through, there all along but needed me to be on the other side of the world before appearing.
It wasn’t really a holiday but more an adventure. As we packed in seeing as much as we could in the time we were there. I have rolled my luggage up hills that never seemed to end in stifling heat. I have climbed more steps than I could possibly count and walked more kilometres in a month, than I would in six months at home. I have experienced the motion sickness one gets from the Italian roads and remembered why I do not like small planes. I have seen the inside of more airports than any other trip and saw field upon field of sunflowers on the fast train through the south of France.
I got to see more than I could have possibly imagined, and as I sit here in my jetlagged state, I feel the privilege of what I have been blessed to experience. And it occurs to me that us humans spend so much time chasing what we think will make us happy, that we forget to enjoy the moment.
Money a necessary evil, is truly the bane of misery. Yes we need it and I needed it to embark on the wonderful trip I had, but chasing it and putting so much focus on it, removes the joy from life. Money is not what brings you happiness, experiences and special moments bring you happiness. Seeing how others live in other parts of the world and allowing yourself to step outside of yourself in a foreign place, will show you an awakened perspective.
As I soaked in everything I possibly could and tried to capture the feelings through photos, I was again reminded that some of us human’s live through our phones and cameras. In some of the most beautiful places in the world people are viewing it through the lens of a phone, rather than embracing their surroundings in that present moment. Life should be the simple joy of any given moment, not the best shot for insta. Absolutely capture the memories but do so living in that moment with all the emotions and feelings it has to offer.
So it’s back to reality for me, which I’ve come to see as something really beautiful. Everything has led me to this point, choices, decisions, divine intervention-it’s all played a part to get me here. And a trip that has managed to teach me even more about myself, at a time when I’m closing old chapters and writing new ones.
Now that’s a gift.