Freedom

 

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful
and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”
~ Mary Oliver

In October three years ago I was in Florence, knowing nobody and not speaking the language.  But what an adventure that was.

Have you ever thought of doing something like that?  To know nobody; to walk through the streets and not see a familiar face; to hear people speaking without understanding a single word they are saying and to not know where you are or where you are going; no familiar sights to guide you.  It’s total freedom.

For once, you can just be you.  There’s nobody who knows you and can comment on your behaviour.  We all like to think that we are independent and not moved by others’ comments on our actions, but here I was, totally alone like a ship that had been untied and left to float.

Oh, how i loved Florence and the feeling of just being me for the time I was there. Never before have I been in such circumstances and I suppose I never will be again.

When I returned to NZ many people commented on how brave I was to do that on my own.  But it didn’t seem like bravery to me.  At the time it was something I wanted to do and so I did it.  I wonder if I would have done that had I been younger or was it just the right time for me to stretch my wings and fly?

I’m very pleased that I had that adventure.  That I made the decision to go on my own and see that part of the world through different eyes.  I had not spent time in Florence before and like a child in a candy store, I delighted in all that I saw.  And I delighted in the people I met in the suburb where my apartment was.  Nobody spoke English and my Italian is almost non-existent but we managed to communicate and enjoy each others company.  And when I returned a couple  of years later with my late partner, those neighbours remembered me and were happy to see me.

So much has happened in the three years since that adventure.  Life has changed as it will and must.  Plans made that cannot be carried through; promises made that cannot be kept; other and different adventures to enjoy or just get through.  But that’s what this life of ours is all about.

So as Mary Oliver asks:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your
one wild and precious life?”
~ Mary Oliver

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13 responses to “Freedom

  1. I remember you going to Florence. I was so impressed. It was just as I was making plans to move to Spain. Mind you I went with my husband but it was still quite a venture and I was inspired by you. It was so wonderful you were able to return with your husband and see old friends together. Great memories for you. What a difference three years can make. Love the Mary Oliver quotes!

  2. Hi Darlene. You say you were inspired by me. to make a move to Spain. If that’s even a little bit true I’m glad. And I wonder what life has in store for me now.

  3. I went on a 10-day trip to St. Thomas by myself my senior year of college. It was only the 2nd time I’d flown and the first time I’d planned a trip.

    When we landed in Puerto Rico, I was surrounded by a sea of Spanish with only a small window of time to catch my connecting flight to Charlotte Amalie. I went to the ticket counter and tried to piece together what the agent was saying to me using my rudimentary HS Spanish. No luck. I hadn’t a clue. “Hablo English?” She nodded and switched with a fluency I envied.

    I started the week with complete independence, knowing no one and being beholden to no one . . . but that changed F~A~S~T.

    As I met people, we made plans to meet for dining, dancing, the beach, sightseeing, shopping, etc. I went from having to consult no one to having coordinate schedules and interests. It was an interesting experience.

    I love traveling with BFF because our interests are so similar that we flow from one activity to the next without lengthy consultations. The few times we’ve vacationed with another couple or small group, I didn’t care for it. Too much time wasted figuring out what everyone wants to do and when.

  4. I admire you for traveling on your own. I’m home alone for a few days, which is fairly unusual. That’s when I am free to be me. I play music that others might not want to hear, and I eat when I feel like it. Every time I start a sentence with “I should,” I tell myself to drop it.

  5. I remember you being there and the joy you shared with us. We were in France at the time, and here we are, three years later. So much has happened in both our lives. Did either of us think we would be where we are today? Life is an adventure for sure.

  6. I remember your trip and did think you were brave! Love your quote at the end.

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