It’s funny how leaving your comfort zone changes everything. Since leaving England to come to Italy, I can feel myself changing on a daily basis. The same things just don’t matter to me anymore. It’s becoming so clear to me what is truly important and what isn’t.
Yesterday, we went to Lucca for the day. It was grey, it was rainy, but alas – off we went. And leaving my new comfort zone (because apparently that’s what Firenze is now… although it continues to surprise and challenge me non stop!) was exactly what I needed to give me a little bit of perspective. Clarity on what was needed to lift the cloud hanging over me.
As we strolled along the city walls, drinking in the rich history, I turned to my friend and asked her whether she thought moving abroad had changed her at all. I was so surprised when she responded by saying she didn’t really feel like it had. Of course, you can never really change entirely. I’m still the same in so many ways; I’m a big kid at heart, I’m still socially inept and I never stop dreaming.
But away from that, I feel so different. Leaving the corporate world (albeit, the arts and culture branch of it) and my pretty big network, leaving the life where the most important part of my week was buying a new dress for a weekend of indulgence or laying in bed all day surrounded by Dominos and shame (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating…
or maybe not)… how can it not change you?
The biggest pleasures in my life now? Exploring a new city and interacting with a new culture. Sitting at my desk and letting the words spill onto the page. Receiving a hand-drawn picture in the post from a cousin or a nephew. Sitting and watching the sunset whilst talking about your wildest dreams with friends, never letting any dream be too big.
This is what matters.
So exploring the charismatically quaint city of Lucca – even in the rain – with my dear girl? It did it. It helped suck out the sadness and fill me instead with joy.
The city of 100 churches they call it. And they weren’t kidding. On every corner you’ll find another towering piece of architectural brilliance, where the deep spirtuality inside just runs through your veins and sucks you in. Glittering golden mosaics juxtaposed with hauntingly solemn interiors. It was beautiful – but on such a different level to the exuberant buildings of Firenze and Roma.
We climbed to the top to the Torre Delle Ore (NP: if you’re scared of heights, claustrophobic or at all inclined to feelings of vertigo, give this one a miss) and absorbed the city from its highest point. There’s something about seeing a city in all its glory, a 360 degree showing of it in its finest form. It makes you feel so small… yet so big, somehow, like the world really is your oyster.
We walked, we explored and we lost ourselves in its charm. As we meandered across the city, music followed us at every turn. Finally arriving at Puccini’s birthplace (no phone data + no map = two very confused Brits) I was overcome with happiness as his sweet music filled my soul. Being reunited with those intoxicating sounds was so blissful; it inspired me to keep pushing towards my creative goals.
We ended the day by hopping on a train to Viareggio (Tuscany’s seaside town), and took to the beach as the sun set. Listening to the fierce waves as they lapped up to our feet and just being there was so calming. If I needed anything else to help clear my head, well, that was it.
Maybe it’s the trip, maybe it’s finally getting over a stinking illness or maybe it’s dedicating a whole day to just being by myself. Boh; all I know is I feel good. I want to keep exploring and expanding this pool of inspiration. I want to kick-start my freelance writing and develop my idea for a novel. I want to meet even more people and continue to throw myself into achieving my dream.
And I’m going to do it.
“Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out into the ocean.”