Is where I’ve been lately.
I can’t possibly describe the bleak and lost spell I’ve been under for the past few weeks following my trip to Rome. I didn’t call anyone, I rarely went out, I couldn’t bring myself to cook much and I just felt spacey and sad.
Travel is an amazing equalizer. It expands your horizons and turns lofty notions of culture and art into very real and tangible things.
Grated pecorino romano heaped upon freshly made pasta, sipping Peroni in the blazing Mediterranean sun, touching history with my own two hands, eating canvases with my eyes.
But no one told me that I could lose myself in it, that I would feel more at home there than here, no one described the illogical grief when you discover it’s not your own.
I know I’m lucky to even have the chance to even go, so I shouldn’t be whining about it now. Yet, I feel a bit disingenuous even saying that because I truly believe that we make our own luck in this world. It’s true that things can have an awful way of coming about but it’s not what we believe in it’s what we do at that juncture that makes us who we are. The first time I traveled to Europe I was barely 20 years old and I worked as a waitress in a French bakery cafe, tips were put in a common pitcher on the counter and divided up at the end of each shift. I didn’t make much but I put every penny in a metal enamel jar on the mantel in my tiny apartment that I shared with 2 other people. I eventually saved enough to cover the cost of a passport and airfare to Amsterdam. I decided I was going, then I saved up all of my money, and then I went. It can be that easy, because it’s a matter of priorities.
And this entire blue spell is a matter of priorities as well. I know that Italy has huge economic problems right now, and that not everyone who lives in Rome is on a romantic holiday. However, let me state it plainly, they have a better standard of living. They don’t live opulently and bathe in gold but they live truly more relaxed lives. A larger emphasis is placed on quality of life, seasonal and fresh cuisine and walking(!) I don’t want a nice car, a big house, or a fancy handbag. I want a huge pile of salumi and a carafe of wine for lunch, a city choked with art and architecture and a tiny flat steps away from a daily greenmarket. That is all.
Damn you David Leibovitz and Frances Mayes and even you Pamela Druckerman.
I’m finally starting to come out of it. I am not ungrateful for my life, I just know that better things are out there and I feel like we’ve got it all wrong somehow with our narrow focus on work, and material wealth. I want a life of wealth not a life of objects.
Is this making any sense?