I was out for cocktails with my friend last night (big shock) and we started talking about travelling. Rather, it was the main topic of conversation all night. I told her how even after just three weeks, I already felt like I had the bug. I couldn’t imagine living and working in England again; at least, not for a very long time.
When I say and write things like this, I’m not knocking those that do. So many (well, pretty much all) of my friends have very happy lives in England. Many of them are in loving long-term relationships, expecting babies, buying their first house, climbing up the career ladder… serious times.
And this is what gives them their joy in life. There was a time not that long ago when I felt it was also what I needed to reach the next level of fulfilment. But since being here I’ve realised that, actually, that was never going to bring me real happiness.
Because what I am loving more than anything, is freedom.
My friend asked me what it was that made me want to travel… what travelling gave me.
It was SUCH a hard question to answer.
I knew in my heart what it was, but articulating that? Well that’s another story.
For me, the main motivation behind leaving England was that I wanted to feel true happiness away from my safety blanket. I wanted to show myself that I could be so much more at peace away from all my piles and piles of clothes, my (looking back at it) pretty comfortable wage and many networks of friends. And that definitely still stands. What I am finding is that you don’t need money to have an incredible time. You don’t need to buy a new outfit everytime you go out. You don’t have to be with people 24/7.
Here, the only thing I spend money on is food. It pretty much takes up my entire wage. But it’s such an experience! Every day I aim to taste something new… be it a coffee in a new place, or a new flavour of gelato, or a pizza with a mental topping. I taste things I could never have even dreamt of! And that excites me so much.
I also wanted to learn more about myself. I think this is one of the most inspiring gifts travelling gives you. Being thrown head first into a totally alien culture forces you to very quickly adapt. You soon learn what you can and can’t do (the answer being that you can pretty much do anything). You learn things you never realised before… things you like, things you don’t like, what you want out of life. It changes your mindset in the way that you can look back on things you’ve done and view every mistake as a lesson, every bit of heartache as a push in a new direction.
The thing I didn’t anticipate was how much I would gain. The main reason my friend told me she travelled was that she felt she took different things… different traits… from every culture she was a part of. In Italy, everything is about beauty. It’s about precision, romance and passion. Everything is a big deal here! And everyone takes so much care in everything they do; be that their work, their appearance or their cooking… just everything. It’s the first thing you notice when you come here. You only have to look at the exquisite architecture to realise that. The Italians hold such high regard for it; and you can’t help but have that rub off on you. You start to appreciate and notice all the finer details and the effort that has gone into them. Even the language reflects infinite beauty; it’s so lyrical, it literally dances through the air with every syllable.
The people you meet as well make travelling a truly special experience. I’m under the firm belief that you gain something from every single person you come into contact with; and god am I feeling it here. It’s so interesting conversing with people from completely different lifestyles. They teach me so much… and I’d like to think I can teach them too. Even just the conversations I share with my colleagues over lunch. It’s wonderful to hear them speak about their families, their traditions. It’s one of my favourite parts of the day.
I could go on and on and on about the countless reasons this lifestyle has now gripped me with both hands. The fact I have only been here three weeks doesn’t register in my mind. My life back home seems so, so far away I can hardly even connect with it anymore. There are now lists of things I want to experience in the future and places I want to immerse myself in.
I could never really understand it before; how people could just spend their lives moving from place to place. But I get it now. Travelling is 100% one of the most important things you can do in life. And I feel so blessed to only be at the beginning of my journey.