6 hours alone in Italy

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It was quite a beautiful day outside…warm…despite the fact that the landscape was covered by snow. I was to be taught skiing that day, and was a bit anxious. I had already tried the day before, and almost ran off the side of a cliff…so, I wasn’t particularly calm about it. Still though, that day was going to be an attempt: Attempt number 2. My instructor and I boarded the ski lift. We got to the top, and all my eyes and mind saw was the slope disappearing metres away from me. I gradually became more and more panicked; and the lift operator, noticing my distress, came over and told me that I could get back down using the lift. He then offered me his hand, to help me up (since I had fallen), and together we went to the ski lift.

Safely down, but still shaken by everything that had previously occurred, I had about 6 hours to kill, before I could go ‘home’,…6 hours wandering around alone in Italy. At first the thought of it was a bit daunting. “You’re good at finding interest in things that other’s may consider boring, but can you do that for 6 hours in a country where people don’t speak the same language that you do, you have no internet access and you can only go as far away as you’re sure to return from by 4:00pm?” I waited at the bottom for a while, trying to figure out what to do with myself… I had 2 working feet, a reasonably normal level of curiosity, a camera, an ipod, a cell-phone (the non-smart kind) and enough euros to get me some food; Italy had a gorgeous landscape-like nothing my eyes had ever seen before. So, it was decided….I’ll walk as far as I can in 3 hours, taking pictures and listening to music along the way, and spend the next three hours walking back and looking for a restaurant.

And so my journey began with one step in a paved car park, and with one click of a button on my cheap, old DSLR. The landscape was beautiful, so beautiful that I wanted pictures of myself in it…and so my plan was adjusted: let’s take pictures of moi surrounded by snow at different points on my epic walk. So, that’s basically what’s in the pictures above. I walked through the snow, climbed up little hills, looked at the ground and saw a myriad of shoe prints…proof of the many others who had walked that way before. On the way back I tried to find my shoe prints—I couldn’t. I saw little house-looking-things filled with hay, forests of pine trees with paths steeply winding all the way into them, a small village just over the other side of a hill, little pools of clear water with algae lining the sides, and people trudging along skiing cross country.

Admittedly, when I began my walk I was frustrated. I had all this time to burn in an unknown environment…but by the end of it, I’d had so much time to myself, so much time to think, so much time to breathe, so much time to experience nature. I experienced a level of peace and relaxation that I hadn’t felt in a long time. I had climbed a small hill to get to a restaurant, and though panting, the panoramic view was still able to take my breath away. I remember thinking to myself then: “Situations are gonna upset you, but they’ll only steal your peace for as long as you let them. Learn how to address the negative without ignoring it or letting it take control of you.” I’m still learning… there’s always the temptation to run from problems, there’s always something out there that succeeds in causing me to fall and there isn’t always someone around to help me up… but my legs are becoming stronger, standing up is becoming quicker and easier…and there’s always something beautiful in nature to remind me that pausing for a breather, introspection (and selfies) isn’t always so bad.

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