Those close to me may know that this has been a particularly challenging and painful year for me- but not without its high points and joys. In part, I decided to take the trip to Europe because I needed fresh perspective. My life is at a transition point, and I am taking a hard look at the ways I spend my time and energy. Travel is, for me, a lot of hassle, to get to the good part. I don't think anyone is particularly fond of the work leading up to a trip- planning, packing, last-minute work details, making arrangements for care of your home. There can be a lot of stress in flying overnight, then taking a train into a foreign city, with no phone service, hoping that your host WILL actually meet you where you agreed. It all works out somehow.
And when it does, there's a sense of the miraculous. It came together, it happened. Much like the events I run, it's all about the small details. When you get them right, the rest arranges itself.
It is rare for me to travel away from home for more than one week at a time. In the calm periods when I'm not working on a project or meeting new people, I have a LOT of time to think. To be in my own head for longer than usual can feel isolating, but also gives me a great chance to examine my patterns of thought.
Something I wrote in my journal the other day:
"I can have all the amazing food, wine, and company of friendly people - and yet my SELF is still here, with its knowledge, awareness, and history."
That persistent SELF is expanding, though. Learning through a new lens, considering the same problems from a different angle, and feeling affirmed by others doing parallel work here.
My SELF is warmed by greater self-care, consideration for my whole being- body, spirit, mind...and that I can, and will, thrive no matter where I find myself. Travel forces us to hold up a mirror and see ourselves in a deeper way than before. I welcome the reflection, and hope you can, too.
I am so filled with gratitude, for the support of those back home who believe in me and have helped me get here. It has been a wonderful trip so far, and I look forward to Friday, when my Dad arrives in Milan and we meet at my cousin's house (la casa della mia cugina). On Monday, we will travel together to Rome, and then south to our ancestral hometown of Norma in Lazio. There we'll meet our other cousins for the first time! Truly a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Grazie mille a tutti!