TRAVEL: The real Italy. The real you.
Updated: Jan 4
My first trip to Italy was like falling in love. I was besotted. Like an all-consuming crush, I only focused on the things that I wanted to love.
In a way, I wish I could to go back in time and experience Italy for the first time. To feel the same intense wonder, joy and excitement. Because this time it was different. After all, a 2 week trip doesn’t quite match a 3 month journey.
In May this year, I embarked on a 3 month trip to Italy with my husband. With all our belongings packed into storage, it was my bucket list trip, all our savings from the past year poured into this one experience. It felt a little indulgent. But also courageous. Who spends all their earnings on a trip that will be over in 3 months, without a solid job or home to return to? Or is that just crazy? Irresponsible? I’ll let you decide.
My first trip to Italy was like falling in love. I was besotted. Like an all-consuming crush, I only focused on the things that I wanted to love. I chose to delight in what I wanted Italy to be. I fell in love with the way the light played on her ancient buildings, the lilting sounds of her foreign language, washing over me as I took the passeggiata. I bathed in the newness of her and I didn’t want to wash her off. I was utterly in love. And she felt like home. She felt like the part of me that I always wanted to be.
But this time, this trip, the sheen got a little tarnished. Cracks emerged in that all too perfect bronzed skin. Her little quirks become less quaint and I began seeing Italia for who she was. Real. Complex. Full of contrasts. The shadowy sides I refused to see before. My school-girl crush began to fade. Yet I still craved the nostalgia of our summertime love. My lover welcomed me back, but this time, it was warts and all and unapologetically on her terms. Italia showed me her true nature and I had to decide if I wanted this love or not.