We sat on a train, our weary bodies swaying back and forth through a tunnel. Then it came – a flash of the Atlantic Ocean and an expansive horizon. My soul smiled. I knew we’d arrive soon.
When we hopped off the train, I heard powerful waves crash into the rugged coastline. I could feel the synergy of Earth and water. I’d been questioning my every turn, and finally, I had faith in where my feet were.
After Bologna, Gabby and I found ourselves in Pisa. Couchsurfing is a beautiful experience. You should try it. But, being a proper guest requires as much energy as being a generous host, and my tank needed fuel. Pisa was cheap and in proximity – a decent place to rest, recover, and be alone with my thoughts.
My feet really started to itch. Up to this point, I had established a deep connection with every person that crossed my path, however, I struggled to connect to the environments I found myself in.
For the past three weeks, I’d only been in cities. And cities remind me of ant hills – everyone living on top of each other, toppling over one another as they rush to complete daily tasks. I get it. They're fiery places meant for people who thrive off of quick movement. But I’m more of an earthy person, slow moving, and I’d rather live like a horse – freely roaming amongst wild lands.
The initial intention was a no-plan plan, but with every city I found myself in, I couldn’t help but feel like there were grander places to be – better ways to spend my time. Some mountains would be nice?
The universe listens carefully. Maybe this was her way of showing me what it’s like to have scattered intentions because I never truly answered the questions, “What do I want out of this trip?” and “Where do I want go?” I didn’t know the answers. I just hopped on a plane, like jumping off a cliff and not knowing how deep the water is.
But I had an open heart. Deep down, peace still resided. I just needed to cast my will power, and be more specific.
I’d heard the location “Cinque Terre” thrown around in conversation, and from what I’d been told, it seemed like the ideal spot to find faith in the path I’d already paved for myself.
We left Pisa and arrived in Cinque Terre in the late afternoon – a series of five, colorful villages stacked along the west coast of Italy. We stood along the railing near the train station overlooking the ocean for a few breaths. Misty air filled our lungs, our exhales full of relief. We settled into our home for the next few days, cooked a massive dinner, and crashed.
The next morning, we prepared our packs and set out for a coastal hike that connected all five villages. The beauty that unraveled before my eyes made my skin melt. Our Mother’s waters radiated hues of emerald along the coast, and a deep, midnight blue in the distance. The sun created what looked like thousands of quartz crystals glistening on the ocean’s surface. And in my immediate surroundings, the lushness of sacred greenery and wild flowers blossoming with all that they knew.
The hike wasn’t easy. Vertical switchbacks demanded every ounce of my energy, and forced an emotion that had been tucked away to rise to the surface.
While I had attempted to slash any expectations for this journey, I had a small amount of hope that my life’s purpose would become more clear to me. And in that moment, with sweat dripping down my neck and my breath heavy from thick moisture in the air, I felt fear. Fear, that maybe my purpose wouldn’t reveal itself. It all felt so confusing.
After our hike, we watched the sun blaze and disappear behind the horizon – my fears along with it. I reminded myself that my journey had just begun. More challenges awaited, as did lessons. And sometimes, we demand answers too soon.
In the meantime, I must take care of myself. Going from comfortably living in an apartment with my best friend, hanging around familiar faces, and having a general idea of what my week looked like, to making hourly decisions, having one familiar face by my side, and not knowing the dominant language, is an intense shift. I’m not even sure if I’d fully processed it.
So, while I’m at it, I will embrace this opportunity. I will cherish this experience. And most importantly, I will have faith in the universe and keep intentions pure. She will listen.