Finally, late a night, walking through the streets of Florence, it hit me.
I’m living here. The journey has begun.
Tears of happiness started pouring down my face as I walked home from my favorite restaurant in the world – a place that served a pizza I’ve been talking about returning to for years now. The little picture on my wall taken from above the city was no longer something that I had just thought about and wished for, it was actually here.
Needless to say, things got pretty emotional last night.
This place feels inviting to me, but probably in a way that most people don’t get to experience. The hustle of tourists wandering the streets taking driveby pictures of the scenes has a very particular vibe to it. Everyone is going somewhere but hardly few are really there. They don’t stop and just revel in what they are looking at. They are capturing a moment on their phone, one that they will forever be able to have in their endless stash of photos, but they will have never actually have been there.
This is what I don’t want to do.
So I wander. I put away the tour guides, I don’t have a plan, and I wander the streets to wherever my heart whispers to go next.
This morning I ran in a particular direction (pro tip – drop a pin on your phone where home is it comes in handy haha) and just ran. I ended up miles away from home having seen just one vein of the city, with 30 days left to explore the rest.
Just soak it all in.
Just be here.
I think there’s a tendency to be intimidated by being in new places you have absolutely no experience in whatsoever. There’s a lot of the inner critic screaming because everything is new. But after spending the day settling down into my place and getting my feet on the ground, I have come back to the realization that people are really the same everywhere.
Different skin maybe. Different languages. Different clothes.
But the thing that holds true is that everyone is dealing with something, everyone is fight for something – whatever that may be – and everyone is experiencing those same emotions as I am.
The happiness. The suffering. The nervousness. The list could go on and on.
So as I spent an hour in the grocery store trying to figure out how to buy food and hovering over an old Italian woman learning how to properly bag produce with a plastic glove and printable tickets…I realized I had to slow down.
You’re new here…watch and learn. See what they are doing? Just do that.
When things are different, we can either adapt or complain.
It’s not going to be the way it is at home. You can’t just roll into a Costco and buy tons of chicken, lots of turkey, and produce galore. No, you have to go to mini-markets, speak with the workers and request amounts, have a conversation and continue moving forward. In those moments where you struggle with language, you might just want to shut off and forget doing things altogether – or try to hammer things into submission by being stuck in your ways…
But I’ve realized, even just in the two days of being here, how much others love it when you actually really try. Always keep a smile on your face as your butchering someone else’s language – they will know that you’re actually making an effort out of respect to them instead of almost everyone else who massacres the pronunciation of a specific brand of cheese without the awareness or remorse.
So as I continue to wander the streets, no matter how lost I get I never really feel lost.
Because it’s not about capturing 100 perfect shots in the 2 days that I’m here. It’s about something more. It’s about feeling the energy of Florence coursing through my veins, walking the same cobbled streets of some of the most famous artists and people in history, and letting that energy pump through my heart.
I didn’t come here for candid shots and selfie sticks…I came here because I knew that life was waiting for me. That sense of freedom – that beautiful breeze that uplifts anyone who is seeking inspiration and love for everything again. Those winds are there, but most are moving to heavily to feel that.
I can feel it, because I’m lighter than I’ve ever been.
So if I feel like I need to turn left…I do.
Because when I do, I land right in the perfect place.