“Travel ‘n’ Write,” Europe, Blog 1
As I was attempting to fit a suitcase full of toiletries into a QUART-size Hefty bag this morning, I thought to myself, “Well now’s as good a time as any to start my travel blog.” So I walked away from the tedious act of trying to squeeze insanely thick diaper cream (don’t judge, I use it as a deodorant:-)) into a miniscule bottle with an opening the size of a pinhead. Yeah . . . happy to take a break from that task!
I decided a few days ago (about a week before my two-month trip to Europe that’s been planned for OVER three months) that I am going to travel light. . . . dammit!!! After all, I do call myself “Traveling Light Poetry, Photography and Dance.” So I proceeded to buy a last-minute awesome (Osprey) bag (thanks for the suggestion, Wes), travel-size containers, comfy shoes for every occasion and all the convenient little gadgets I could possibly think of to make this traveling light thing go a little more smoothly.
What I foresaw as I was doing so was me trekking across Europe with my backpack, my messenger bag, my happy shoes and a huge smile on my face. What I didn’t see coming was me spending fifteen minutes squirting my earth-friendly/people-friendly hair spray into a three-ounce size bottle two days before my trip.
LOL. But it’ll all be worth it, I’m sure. Just last night I was talking with a friend who recently returned from Thailand, and her advice to me was, “Don’t take too much stuff! If I regret anything, it’s that.” I told her that her pep talk came at the perfect time as I intended to do my trial packing run the very next morning (today).
And that’s just exactly what I was doing when the pen called my name.
I love a good play on words, metaphors, puns, synchronicities, multiple meanings/interpretations, etc. I practically live for those things. “If Not Now, When,” the title of this post, has so many meanings for me in terms of this trip. First, it applies to the writing of the post itself: if I see myself writing a travel blog, I’m gonna have to actually sit down and do it when inspiration strikes (I can’t tell you how many ideas for articles I have floating around in my head–not to mention on napkins, random pieces of paper, phone notes, journals, etc.–from the past several years). So, when I was in the midst of witnessing diaper cream pour over the sides of a bottle like an erupting volcano and a tiny little voice inside of me whispered “Stop and Write,” I obliged. I did so begrudgingly, mind you, with excuses like “I’ve got too much shit to do” and “Packing perfectly is so much more important” . . . but . . . ultimately . . . I did oblige.
And suddenly things felt light and fun and . . . well . . . and . . . worth it.
Just like they do with any other big event in my life, perfectionism and people-pleasing have reared their icky faces in a gigantic way as I’ve prepared for this trip. They are so anxiety-provoking for me, and all they do is undermine, sabotage and backfire. I know this with every cell of my being and yet I still allow them to take hold. I am powerless over them on my own but when I surrender them to Life, they slowly but surely dissolve. In making that one tiny choice today to walk away from my “To Do List” and walk toward my Soul, I opened the back seat door nice and wide for these two traveling companions. It’s like saying, “Get thee behind me, Satan and your evil twin. Literally. Get in the back seat.” And I roll down the windows, breath, feel the breeze and drown out their voices with my Soul Song.
Such a metaphor for Life.
Will I take a break when my Soul nudges me to do so? If not now, when?
Will I choose uncensored writing over perfect packing? If not now, when?
Will I write what wants to be written, do what wants to be done, without worrying myself sick about what others think or whom I might offend? If not now, when?
Will I take the trip of a lifetime and actually allow myself to be present for it, inviting it to unfold of its own accord, without attempting to control and perfect (all to avoid uncomfortable feelings)? If not now, when?
Will I write my Soul unedited and have the courage to share with the world? If not now, when?
Just after I planned this trip, a college friend got in touch with me to ask if I was going to Italy (she had seen on Facebook that I was learning Italian). I told her I was, and she responded that she was going to be in Tuscany at the same time. Of course, we planned to meet up . . . hellooooooo, a 20-year reunion in Tuscany? Yes, please. A few days later, I happened to be going through my phone clearing out some notes, and I came across a random note from 2014 which read, “Castle Malispina, Tuscany.” Right away I got one of those twilight zone feelings, and I said to myself, “I wonder if they rent rooms.” I tucked that thought inside my mind and let it go. A week later, when I was booking my hotel room in Rome, the thought came back to visit. Right away, I went to my phone to get the spelling of the castle so that I could check if they rented rooms. Lo and behold, they sure enough do! Within minutes I had booked a two-night stay in a medieval castle in Tuscany! I’ve been so excited about it ever since, showing–anyone who’s willing to look–the amazing pictures of my soon to be haven for a weekend. Just a few nights ago, Life put the icing on the cake when I discovered, by chance, that this castle happens to be a retreat center for artists and writers. Still, my absolute favorite part of the story is this: Underneath the name of the castle in this random note in my phone are these words:
“If not now, when.”
Sometimes I really feel like Life writes me Love Letters . . . and I fall more and more madly and deeply in love with Her every day.
So I shall let this be the first of many perfectly imperfect posts about this adventure. I hope it pleases (she’s in the backseat but she’s still in the car:-)) you to witness my shenanigans in the form of these crazy, messy, haphazard words . . . regardless I will share them anyway . . . as that’s what my Soul loves to do!
For now, back to the diaper cream. I leave Wednesday, and it looks like this is gonna take a little while . . . so yeah . . . If Not Now, When?!