Italy (Rome, Sorrento, Amalfi, Rome, Venice) – England – Australia
I’m home, sitting at my beautiful desk, in my favourite office in the middle of winter with the sun pouring in through the windows and three doggies at my feet. Home is bliss. After a fabulous, unforgettable three week round trip to Italy and England, I contemplate my journey and bask in the beauty of home.
I left on a jet plane with my bags, my emotions and my itinerary in hand. I was going solo, for the first time all the way overseas. I really didn’t know what to expect, this could have unbalanced me creating anxiety and fear yet I felt calm and tranquil the entire trip. I took each day and adventure at a time. I was open to new meeting people, conversing Italian and just seeing what unfolded.
I didn’t come home with a bigger bank account, a gorgeous famous Italian actor as my new partner or some unexpected bizarre story to spruik about. But, I came home with a filled up heart that is more open, a calmer zest for life, a little less emotional baggage and a multitude of beautiful memories.
My trip was rich and full and I conquered the solo travelling all on my own. It was so simple.
I had one minor hiccup leaving Venice, the words echoing through the crowd from the BA staff “I’m sorry to advise you will no longer be landing at London City Airport, your plane will be diverted to Stansted Airport, sorry for any inconvenience”.
Really! Where the hell is Stansted airport? This threw a big pink spanner in the works as I had to work out how to get to my friends place. I knew London transport was excellent so with an idea of what to do I took one mode of transport and one moment at a time to arrive finally 12 hours later at my friend’s house 30 minutes out of London. I could have panicked but really what was the point. I just had to go with the flow, be in the moment and believe I would finally arrive at some stage.
The last two times I was in Italy I was with my family and my late father. This time it was just me. This brought with it lovely memories, grief and new joyful times. The emotional trip was a little all over the place but in a good way. I nicknamed Rome the Eternal Healing City.
Charismatic Rome, stunning Amalfi and charming Venice, captivated me and drew me in with its alluring traits, shops, people, food, language and ancient sights. I was hypnotised and so content meandering around on my own allowing all the sights, sounds, smells and taste to wash over me like liquid heaven.
Rome is a sprawling cosmopolitan city. My family background is Italian so it was probably why I felt like I was at home there. Hugging my handbag tightly around Rome is normal but it didn’t stop me from feeling totally safe and secure, the city opened its arms for me and took me in as a child of its own.
I visited the ancient sights and stopped for lunch when my tummy told me to. I threw coins in the Fontana di Trevi, sat and people watched on the Spanish Steps, soaked up the peace in the Basilicas, went underground in the Catacombs, stayed in a hotel on Via Margutta the street where Audrey Hepburn filmed Roman Holiday and much more. I soaked it all up and can feel it now lodged deep within my heart.
Sorrento and Amalfi with their infamous windy roads were so much more beautiful than I expected. The views were exquisite and allowed me to live in the moment for that is all I had. In the Black Mercedes transfer car we speeded past cars, buses, tiny Fiats and vespers driving around and around, higher and higher up the mountains through Positano, other little towns and arriving in Amalfi in one piece. Thankfully!
From Sorrento I visited Capri, Anacapri and the blue grotto. WOW! Is all I can say. Singing Volare in a small row boat drifting through a small opening into a sea cave that dazzles you with the most amazing blue water illuminating the cave, a definite to do. A once in a lifetime event, it’s only open about 30% of the year and guess what it was open for me.
The boats, the streets, the shops and the Basilica in Amalfi was nothing was short of impressive. Swimming in the Mediterranean sea, in a sports bra and a skirt. (Who forgets their bathers on a trip to Amalfi? ME!)
Venice! Oh, beautiful divine Venice. It has a character all of its own. Beautiful, romantic yet chaotic and busy. Some say it’s dirty and unattractive, I see and feel the stunning beauty underneath. This is my third trip to Venice and I still find it remarkable. Venice is so different to anywhere else, its individuality, its age, it structures like the basilica and the Doge’s Palace blew me away.
Walking past a White grand piano playing Moon River overlooking St Marco’s square. Standing on elegant bridges watching Gondoliers glide their Gondola underneath at a slow pace and translating the looks on people’s that screamed I’m in heaven, forgetting about their stressful life, just enjoying the ride.
Venice transported me to a time and place elsewhere and somehow planted seeds of calm, joy and happiness inside for me to bring home with me and remember for always.
Visiting Guildford, Eashing, Cranleigh, Wonersh, London Fulham, Notting Hill, Oxford Street, Harrods, Covent Gardens and many more places.
Eating, walking, shopping, chilling out, visiting beautiful old English pubs and just living the English life. My friend was the best host and I had such a lovely and relaxing time. She invited me to come 20 years ago and it’s taken me that long to visit. What have I been doing? So pleased I finally got to experience her life and I send her a big thanks for having me.
Sitting at my desk writing this blog I am immensely grateful for my life inclusive of all the good bits and all the not so good bits. I have arrived home with a renewed appreciation for my life and my loved ones.
I feel fresh and sense a shift internally walking me to a calmer and more joyful life. Something is different, I’m still basking in my contemplations and allowing it to settle and integrate within me. I think I moved through some grief that was buried deep below which has allowed me to feel freer and lighter.
My wish is to live a rich and full life in honour of me and my Dad. This traveling experience definitely added to my rich and full life.
Thank you Italy, Thankyou England. I’ll be back soon!
HOME is amazing.
My Facebook post on my last day.
As I reflect on my trip I allow immense gratitude for life, my loved ones, good friends, the good in the world, furry children, adventures and learning more about myself to wash over me.
Exposing myself to new adventures has highlighted and allowed my soul to blossom and flourish walking me to new and interesting parts and waking up the pure parts that always lie under the busyness and chaotic exterior we live by. As the day to day responsibilities faded for abit and the distractions of life disappeared it has been possible to access the true feelings that lie within. When the quietness and stillness comes, the ability to heal presents itself with voraciousness.
I dedicate this trip to my Dad. Months ago I had a very deep yearning to visit again my Italian roots now that he has passed. I have now conquered that trip on my own just me and the array of emotions that surfaced throughout my trip. Sometimes you need to get away and just BE with yourself to find yourself again. Remembering Dad and the wonderfulness he brought to my world is pure joy with some residual grief and sadness. He has been a fabulous role model in life and in death teaching me to live a rich and full life. That is what I have done and will continue to do in honour of him and in honour of me.
I look forward to more life adventures and opening the book to a new chapter on my return, by settling down to write my second book which is dedicated to him. Thank you my beautiful Dad. Love you to the moon and back always and forever. Thank you for leading me to my Italian trip where I could fully access my heart and all the divine epiphanies and healing it has brought. Please continue to walk by my side and hold my hand as I embark on my next project and life adventure. Don’t ever leave!
Your darling daughter Lara x
Ciao and Arrivederci Italia. Grazie per il momento migliore. Ti amo l’italia.
Big Pink love Lara and the two gorgeous fur children, Suzy and Chelsea xx
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