Notes to self [travelling in Italy]

Life is like a journey. Pack only what you need, since you must have some room for what you pick up on the way.

Tamara de Lempicka

On the boat from Split (Croatia) to Ancona (Italy)

Tomorrow I am finally hoping for that 5AM moment which launched the beginning of my holidays and in the very same way should announce the beginning of the end. Actually, I am only half-way through with my vacation, yet I keep referring to it as if it was already gone. I guess leaving Montenegro kind of closed the page where I truly felt I was away from everyone. Now I am on my way to meet my family.

It’s been good, though, enjoyed every bit especially the peaceful moments at the seaside. Monte-negro. The black mountain – it will remain in my mind, in my heart for years to come. But I should not dwell on it. Italy now. Life now. I am actually living now. Another day. 5AM. Looking forward to that sunrise.

Next time I will do a bit more planning. I swear I will. I will pack more carefully – I will only take the stuff that I necessarily have to. Just that – the backpack’s been real heavy this time. I’ll look up the places I’m going to. I will look them up on wikipedia. I promise. I will. I’ll go do a bit of sight-seeing. I’ll see stuff. I’ll take it a bit more seriously next time. I’ll take a bit more care.

***

So, of course, I have missed that 5AM moment. By the time I heard the alarm clock ring it was already 5.10.

Some horrible dreams last night. Kept waking up thinking we were going to drown. Kept planning what kind of stuff should I take upon hearing the alarm going off. Whom should I call? What should I say? All sorts of scenarios running through my head. There were noises upstairs and in the room next door. Whenever they’d laugh, it would calm me down a lil’. “We’re ok.” I’d think. Just my imagination. Oftentimes it’s only that – nothing more to it.

Spent the morning thinking (the usual), established some rules:

  1. Be kind to yourself
  2. Be kind to your loved ones
  3. Face the truth – honesty comes first

Actually, my priorities are obviously shifty, cuz’ the rule number 1. initially was supposed to be “Be honest” or “Stay truthful”, but by the time I got to writing it down, that “kind” thing got into my head. So, here, let me try again.

  1. Face the truth
  2. Stay truthful
  3. Be kind to yourself
  4. Be kind to your loved ones
  5. Be kind to not-so-loved ones

Yeah, that’s more like it.

Seems that we’re arriving in Ancona. Or “Ancone” as the Canadian guys called it. French Canadian – what do they know about Italy, anyway? Jokes.

Quite industrial, this Ancona place. I should probably go – would kill for some soup, actually, a soup would be lovely. I wonder if they have it in this heat.

Shit, who’s gonna read all this?

***

Felt like home, Italy. Italy really felt like home. I don’t know why, but I was smiling.

***

“When I go back” a thought occurs every once in a while, “When I go back, I will do everything differently.”

I wonder if I will, though, I wonder, really, how the circumstances changing back to “normal” will affect me? Will I be different upon my return? Will I retain that strength and confidence which I so carefully gathered throughout the sunny days in Montenegro and here in Italy? The fact remains, though, at the moment I see way more light in the so-called “future” and many more options than I did upon leaving. At this moment, at this very moment in time – I am way more confident, I draw more strength from within. I’m at a bit more peace with my own body, mind and probably even soul.

It kicked in when we were playing monopoly with my 7-year old cousin, little Laurettina, it just kicked in. All of a sudden everything started to matter very little – what’s gonna happen tomorrow, after tomorrow, or next week – everything appeared to be trivial. I decided to not even bother thinking about it – I knew things would fall back into places somehow. It hasn’t left, this feeling hasn’t left.

Perfectionism’s one of the greatest flaws of the human mind. We’re constantly yearning for things to go perfectly right. The absurdity of it all lies in the fact that we don’t even know what this “perfectly right” is. But we keep aiming.

***

Of all of them places I traveled to so far, Bologna remains the messiest one of them all. It’s a city, I guess, thus the mess.

***

There is no peace of mind. There probably won’t be such a thing for a very long time. Still doubting the choice of my route. Still thinking if it wasn’t a mistake to come visit Bologna – it brings a lot of gravity, loads of memories, heavy thoughts. The image of little Laurettina, though, the image of little Lauretta peacefully sleeping at my side as I open my eyes in the morning, that image puts me at peace. I was probably right. It was probably as right as it could have been for me to come here.

I love my family very much.

***

I got the sense of enjoyment back – I can’t quite believe it. I enjoy travelling again. Upon arriving at Venezia St. Lucia station I actually got the feeling of wanting to see Venice again (I was never a fan of the crowds in Venice). I got off, got out of the station and I was actually quite pleased to see the town with all its waters. Even the tourists didn’t bother me as much – perhaps because I knew I was only there for an hour.

***

Back in Norway, I seem to refer to Norway quite a lot, back in Norway, when it would go a little bit dark, not dark outside, I mean, but dark within, whenever it’d go dark, and this was happening exceptionally often towards my final year there, when it’d go dark, we’d go hitch-hiking. We’d go hitch-hike some car, somewhere – it didn’t really matter where – and the stories of the people we’d meet, the new places we’d visit, would somehow make the light re-appear, there’d be glimpses of light again. I have a feeling that this is precisely what I’m doing now, that’s what I do when I go abroad – I am trying to switch that light back on by reminding myself that my world doesn’t end outside of my flat, outside of Vilnius even. Nothing ends. Nothing stops there.

***

Venezia-Udine

The trains are very different here, up north, air-conditioning, phone chargers, screens displaying journey details, seats new and kinda comfy. People different too – much quieter. More reserved. Well-dressed. North is north.

***

I’m not gonna lie anymore. I’m sick and tired of having to lie. If anyone asks, if anyone asks anything, I’m just gonna say “I can’t explain”. There are certain things you can’t, you just simply cannot explain certain things. Many of the things, actually, most of them, the emotional landscape I go through on daily basis – I cannot explain it. It’s not through words that it could be explained. The euphoria was gone and, as expected, there was a downfall. Whenever there is a downfall – I just simply cannot be around people. I just can’t handle having to pretend. I cannot handle the guilt that comes as a consequence of not feeling right. Of not feeling quite in sync.

***

Something-something-the end of Sunday, Week 3

On the train from Ravenna back to Bologna. Really had to make myself write, actually, cuz’ there was nothing else to do. Half an hour to arrival.

It’s peaceful – probably the reason why there’s no urge to write. Peaceful inside. Comparing to what I’ve been going through last night, this is actually heaven. Amazing how the mood-swings go. How they function. How they have a life of their own.

***

I like the feeling of departing – there is a certain sadness to it.

***

Milano. Never thought of it much. As it stands, though, it did leave quite a good impression. It’s alive. It’s breathing. Not in  a sense of it being a sleepless party town, but in some other sense. There’s always activity happening on the streets. Random people. Random chats. I do remember now, the memory of why I Ioved Italy in the first place  has been brought back to me.

The obsession with food and other little everyday matters which is a definite feature of Italian culture, comes as both – a virtue and a vice. On one hand, keeping up conversations about the choice of clothing or food, or some kind of commodities, luxuries even, is a tiresome activity; at the same time, their attention to detail in such things, the passion with which these subjects are being treated is worthy of admiration.

Coffee. I’m gonna miss the coffee breaks. The breaks. The actual time to breathe – to inhale the scent of the freshly made espresso, to enjoy, really. To have the time to stand still, sip your coffee and watch the world go by.

***

The pursuit of God, in many ways all of this journey, not only this one, but the one dating back to my birth, this journey could actually be summarized in these words – the pursuit of God. The drive for it is the longing for the divine. The bittersweet sense of longing. How could I ever explain it? How could I explain it to anyone without them making judgments?

I am not speaking of any religion, I am not talking about any religion per se. It’s something else. It’s those blissful glimpses into perfection that I gather. The glimpses that I collect hoping that one day, one day they will all collide into one whole. Into a bigger, greater picture where I’d be able to blend in. Just blend into something greater than myself, greater than life.

On the plane back now, it’s raining… It’s probably gonna rain for a very long time.

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