When I conceived the idea of a several-month-long sojourn somewhere in the northern hemisphere, I had romantic visions. I saw myself rising early, walking to a market, a café or boulangerie for coffee or breakfast croissants, knocking off several kilometres before breakfast. I saw myself enjoying a tranquil countryside, walking along tree-lined lanes, beside vineyards and cypress trees and, (of course) the odd sunflower field. I saw myself making friends with the locals, my Italian improving daily. And I saw myself with time, time to think, time to read, and time to write, in between Mediterranean inspired meals and the occasional visit to a tourist spot.
But dreams are free. My idyllic country sojourn turned into something a little different. The early morning rising was never going to happen. I would love to be that person. But I’m not, and never will be. The tree-lined lanes, vineyards and sunflower fields were there, just not within walking distance (usually) of our accommodation. And of course we spent a month in Rome which is rarely tranquil, usually chaotic and bustling and just, well, alive. And the reality of being in Europe for this amount of time was simply that there was far too much to see. And so the occasional quiet day was interspersed with sightseeing. Never frenetic, because that’s not the type of travellers we are. But we knew there was too much to see, too much we’d regret not seeing, too many long lunches to enjoy beside Italian lakes or at the beach or in a village piazza, not to get out of the house. Turns out three months in Italy is no time at all. Who knew?
And so, almost five months since we left, I have done virtually no writing other than at Lemons to Limoncello. It is time to change that.