The last couple of years have felt very busy and I haven't taken a real vacation since the Fall of 2015. This is strange for me as I usually take an annual trip (or two) to Cinque Terre in Italy. This gorgeous seaside place is where I've met some of the best friends a girl could ask for, it's where I have discovered things about myself that have made me who I am today, and it's where I found my peace again after the worst year of my life. To say it's special is an understatement. Since my last trip, many of my friends there have had new babies and I can't wait to meet them. I also have the privilege to do photo shoots while there (part of the reason I can afford to spend two weeks in such a beautiful place). And to top it off, my sister and BIL actually gifted me my flight as a thank you for all I helped them with for their wedding. HOW AMAZING is that??? So, that made this trip possible. And man, I need it. I've been working my butt off.
Travel has always been a way for me to regroup, to get some new energy, creativity, inspiration. It does something for me that's hard to explain but others see it. So, to go two years without, I'm in need of that energy boost. It also gives me the opportunity to be reminded of the way I want to live. Life in Italy is different from here. It's not all hustle and bustle. It's enjoying life, whether by closing down midday to have lunch with family, go sit and have an aperitivo with friends or simply going for a hike or sitting in the harbor taking in all that is around you. I like to take a bit of that with me and live that way here, even among the chaos.
I would be lying if I said I am not nervous to travel these days. I'm not anxious and nervous like I was in the couple of years post-bombing. But, with all the random horrible things happening, it is in the back of my mind. I have always felt safe in Italy, so it's more about getting there but despite the nerves, I would never cancel the trip. I know I have no control over what happens but if I lived my life worried about it, I'd never enjoy it while I'm here. I also have had a strange sadness the last few days to leave here, even just for two weeks. This is VERY strange as I am not the one to really be sad to be away or "miss" things or people. Even at 16, I was in Russia for 2 weeks and barely thought about home. I just thought, "it's only two weeks, why would I?" It's how I've always been. I was in Italy for 3ish weeks two years ago and never thought about missing home for such a short time. However, I also was in a place where I was considering moving and life here felt sort of incomplete.
That has changed. My business feels more complete than ever with changes I made this year. I love all of the time I spend with my family, my friends, and my boyfriend. I have a relationship that I care deeply about after many years of just staying on my own and working on me and my business. So, as my guru (haha) Jen pointed out, I have more to leave here now, more to miss, even for just a short time. I have amazing friends, family and guy. They love me and are so supportive in every way but they also challenge me. I wouldn't want it any other way.
My friends in Italy are the same. These are friends I never would have known had I not taken the chance to travel alone. It was scary and it was a challenge. But, man was it worth it. It gave me an independence and confidence I never had. It forced me outside my comfort zone, took me on many adventures and led me to meet amazing people. Some of those people are friends who I couldn't imagine living without. They are those people you meet and immediately think they should've been there the whole time, that they were meant to be in your life. I am one lucky person. Always take the risks, always come out of your comfort zone. It will help you grow and who knows where it will take you or who it will take you to.
So, yes, I am sad to be away from the people I'm with regularly, and I'm nervous something bad could happen (but it obviously can here as well) which makes my saying goodbye even for a short time harder. But, I know once I'm on that plane, I will just be happy. Happy to be back in what feels like a second home. Happy to spend time with great friends and happy to come back home with memories that will last my lifetime. So, I will allow myself to have some nerves. I believe it is important to let yourself feel it. But I will not let it consume me or interrupt my trip.
Don't let worry and fear ever stop you from living. We are only here once and no matter how long we have, we need to make the most of it.