Sunset in Tuscany
There is nothing quite like motion. The feeling of being on your way somewhere, the road or sky falling away behind you and the anticipation of getting to the crest of that next hill. What land or cityscape will reveal itself to you? What new sounds will you hear and smells will you smell? Who will you meet and what conversations will you have? Where will you place your feet – on what surface? Ancient cobblestones, slate walkways, grassing lawns, soft hot sand?
The call to travel has always lived inside me. Maybe it started from moving so many times when I was a kid – seven times in the first six years of my life. Or maybe it’s the Sagittarian in me, or the blood of my father, who was born in China and traveled the world dancing with the Jose Limon Dance Company. Regardless, it is an intrinsic part of me – one that feels as necessary as the air I breathe and the water I drink.
When I am not traveling for long stretches of time, a stagnant feeling grows inside me, increasing with each missed chance. When I had a kid, bought a house, then soon after became a single parent, my travels came to a screeching halt. With five part-time jobs, I was still barely making it. Travel became a distant memory from a past life, one I could no longer live. My dream of showing my child the world, of bringing him to Cambodia while I volunteered teaching ESL in the summers grew smaller and smaller, but they didn’t fade completely. I just stopped believing in them.
With each passing year that I didn’t travel, I felt my inner shine dimming until it felt unbearable. That feeling of desperation awoke something in me that had been dormant. Call it my Sagittarius spirit if you like, but I felt confined to my daily life and all my responsibilities. My spirit was getting squished and my home began to feel more like a prison than the oasis it is – but the pressure made me dig deep inside to find my grit again – a combination of vision and determination rekindled in me. I knew that my overly busy life was unsustainable and that something had to give. But this time, it wasn’t going to be my dreams, my light or my passion for travel. I would find a way.
And I have! This year, I am launching a part of my biz that feels so me I can barely contain my excitement. With my Tuscan Writing Retreat this July, I am introducing Destination Writing Retreats! Why? Because I am one determined human and I finally found a way to share the two things I love doing most: travel and writing! And once I set my mind to something and shoot my arrow into it, I am like a charging horse until I reach my goal!
Certain things are non-negotiable. My soul needs to be in motion, discovering the world, or my joie de viestarts to fade. My body and mind want to be in motion, too. I need to experience new places, see new sites, connect with the Earth Body and its inhabitants, large and small. And to learn other ways of living.
What a gift, to see beyond our own small lives, our own small towns or even cities. Even if you are famous or have a Big Life, held against the entire world, it’s still small – the lives we are living. Not in a bad way, in a freeing way.
When I was 16 years old and attending a Quaker boarding school in Maryland (it didn’t last long), my friends would, as expected, have intense moments of angst, when our problems seemed the biggest things in the entire world. We would go out into the fields nearby and lay on our backs at night, looking up at the stars.
We would focus on the sensation of our bodies lying on the cool grass beneath us and imagine our spirits soaring out and up, up, up as far as we could go, through the earth's atmosphere, past our solar system, out of our galaxy and beyond, until our miniscule bodies were smaller than a speck of dust – right-sized in relation to the existence of all things. Then, we would come back down, slowly, through our galaxy, to our solar system, to our planet, to our continent, the country, then state, then town, then school, then field, until we settled back into our bodies. By the time we stood up, our problems seemed so small in comparison to everything else – they and we were “right-sized.”
Travel is like that for me. It takes me out of my comfort zone, out of myself and problems, and gives me perspective.
So why not save the time, money and hassle of traveling when you can just lie in your backyard or nearby park for 15 minutes and get that same feeling/perspective? Because we if never go beyond what we know, never see new things, hear new sounds, taste new tastes, meet new people - How will we expand ourselves and our own unique experience here on earth? How will we know what we have..and what we don’t?
To connect with the world outside our window is what connects me to my humanity. To interact with the world around us is what being alive is all about. We might live in bubbles, more and more, but until we actually DO live in bubbles (it might happen – look at NYC restaurants during the pandemic), let’s get out there into this gorgeous mind-blowing world we live in and explore!
And if you want company in your adventures, you know where I will be this summer – in Tuscany!