It was already dark when we arrived into Florence. We had been driving around all day, and I was ready to step away from behind the wheel and be home - wherever our-home-for-the-night was going to be.
We had the address of our Airbnb, but my phone was unable to get an internet signal to guide us there. Without it, I had no clue how we would find 65 via Marconi.
I was tired. I just wanted to stop and take a break from the fast roundabouts, from the zip zip motorcycles and Vespas that appeared out of nowhere.
My heavy mind was feeling uncharacteristically helpless and out of resources, and for a long second I thought that maybe we should spend the night into the nice gas station we had just pulled into. I turned off the engine. I leaned into the headrest and closed my eyes. The idea of somehow landing in front of our apartment felt naive and silly. I told my son that we were never going to find it.
He was calm and he was kind. And he had zero intention of not finding the place. So he said to me: “let’s just take action.”
I opened my eyes and looked at him. What the heck did that mean “just take action?”
He repeated: “Let’s just take some action, and we’ll get unstuck.”
Ooooookay. Take action. Turn on the car. Then ... what? Go right, he said. We went right. And then drove a little bit. And then, all of a sudden, I remembered our host having said something about being near a busy stadium. And then, we saw a sign for “stadio,” so we went that way, and a bit further.
I felt a little better.
Meanwhile, my son was playing with the screen display on the dashboard.
When I had picked up our car at the airport, a few days before, the rental agent has asked me if I wanted to pay extra for the GPS, and I had said no thank you (ha!). For this reason, I had told Costa that we did not have GPS service. Which was incorrect. Within minutes of pressing buttons, there “She” was, ready to guide us to wherever we wanted, with a beautiful sultry French voice. Apparently, just because I did not want to pay extra, did not mean I did not get one. Great lesson in assumption.
Pretty soon, lead by our new French voice friend, we arrived in front of Massimo’s beautiful home. Just like that. SO much better than the gas station, and all this because we had taken action. We had gotten back on the road, which somehow triggered the memory of the stadium, which allowed us to see the signs for the stadium. Then, Costa had decided to question my statement about no having a GPS. And there we were.
Three lessons in 15 Italian minutes. Quite the deal.
Let’s get back on the road, even if we not sure where you are going, nor how. Let’s trust life to jog our memory, provide us with clues, and partner with us.
Let’s not translate people’s words into our own meaning. No, we don’t want to pay extra for the GPS. Fine. No one has said that this meant we don’t get a GPS. It just means we don’t have to pay extra for it. So simple.
Let’s be sure to travel through life l with a great co-pilot. One who is calm, believes in a friendly universe, and is big time possibility-minded. Totally worth its weight in gelato.
We had several wonderful days in Alessio’s apartment and many more adventures!
Wishing you a super sweet day...
I have been traveling through the Northern part of Italy with my son, for the past several days. During that week, many things happened in a different way than we had planned. We took roads not knowing where they would lead us, we ate and drank food that we had not tasted before, we experienced some puzzling interactions, we dove with gusto into a new language, and I drove us through two-way streets that barely looked wide enough for one tiny Fiat.
Yesterday, we arrived at the last Airbnb of our journey together, back in France, and it became quickly apparent that the host provided neither sheets nor towels. We were tired, the guy was more than slightly condescending, and well, I was a bit triggered. He offered to rent us some sheets for 10 euros, and suggested we go buy some towels in town. Oh man, I was not happy. Trying to find bath towels (for which we had no room in our bags) at 7pm proved quite frustrating - and impossible.
And somehow very, very important.
Suddenly, being provided with towels started to feel really imperative. After a long day of driving, I wanted - no, I needed - a clean towel. I could not seem to let my mind unhook from this agreement. Yet, being two days away from starting my Essential Happiness Retreat, I also could not help but notice that I had been caught by just about exactly the kind of stuff I teach people to free themselves from. I noticed, and yet, there I was. Indignant, knowing better, and towel obsessed.
This morning, after some rest, I got out of bed and grabbed the one miniature bar towel tucked in a shelf in the studio. I set it on the tiny sink, and I stepped into the shower with a bottle of shampoo. I washed, I conditioned, I got wet all the way, deciding to enjoy the heck out of the shower. The drying part would be for later.
"Later" came, and I dried myself, head full of hair and all, with that tiny piece of cloth. The window was wide open, the wind was gently blowing, and I could catch a glimpse of the Mediterranean over the rooftops. It took a good while. It left me questionably dry. Then I hung the tiny towel to dry on the rack outside my window. In case I wanted another shower later on.
It was just fine. In fact, it was better than fine. I felt super alive.
Just like most things are just fine, once we decide to let go of the way we think they should be.
Should this host have provided us with towels? Maybe. He certainly did not need to be condescending about it. But then, that's him. And me choosing to let his way of being take away my peace of mind for a couple of hours only robbed me of these two hours. Which I will never get back.
What was I so afraid of? That things were not going to be the way I had envisioned them? That they were not going to be the way they are at home?
Isn't that the whole point of traveling?
To leave our habits behind and experience the fun and stretch of drying ourselves with a postage stamp towel, letting the wind finish the job while looking over at the sea?
This morning, I think it was...
At the car rental station, the guy had asked me if I would like to pay extra for a GPS.
I had answered "no thank you," and my little tiny toonsy assuming mind had made that mean that I did not have a GPS.
Turns out I was wrong. We absolutely have a GPS. We just didn't pay extra for it, because when he asked me if I wanted to, I had said that I didn't.
It can be so simple, sometimes.
Essential Happiness Retreat
January 10 to 20, 2019
Guadeloupe, French Caribbean
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I write because this is the way I am able to taste life more deeply.