Feeling….GRATEFUL!

After 10 and a half months of life on the road…countless train rides, a load of flights, and almost one hundred different places where I’ve laid my head, this is it! One hour until I head to Fiumincino Airport and begin my journey home!

My last six weeks have been spent in Italy. Throughout the trip, I have happily shared highlights on my blog, but it has been hard to write in Italy because all I seemed to do was eat and eat and eat. Since I am not a foodie, I couldn’t imagine people wanting a daily report on my pizza with no cheese and pasta with tomato sauce.

Italy has been restful and a chance to soak in places I love! I have lost countless hours to people watching while reading and walking through new narrow streets.

When traveling to Italy, it’s fun to stay in the famous cities that roll off of our tongues from years of dreaming, but being on a budget makes “the town next to that famous place” the only viable option. For me, that is what made this trip quiet, exploring familiar places from a slight distance.

So, here I am! Ready to start dreaming again! I thought about spending my last lunch doing something out of character, like ordering something exotic with a glass of wine, but I am on a cement bench in Piazza Navona, full from my $2 slice of eggplant pizza, just sitting and watching people. I wonder how I will adjust to the fast pace of life that begins again tomorrow. Piazza Navona is filled with musicians, artists selling their work, and wedding couples taking pictures. It is a sunny afternoon and in my final minutes, I am feeling especially grateful and blessed with the fortune of great friendships and a network of support!

I have had hundreds of wonderful moments…times when people have gone out of their way to guide my path…answer a question, lend a phone, and so much more. Above and beyond those daily blessings, I made a list. I have met 21 people who have either invited me into their homes, spent a few days with me, and offered hospitality and friendship in extraordinary ways. Of this list of 21, I expect to continue friendships, welcome them to my home, and experience continued benefits of new friendships. These Divine moments and blessings will always be the best thing about my
trip.

I had no fear leaving…but now, as I prepare to come back, I am a bit scared. My trip of self discovery has left me with lots of answers, also some questions. I was prepared for anything and every worst case scenario that people presented. I remember when being away for almost a year sounded like such a long time…so why do I feel like I just left home? At the same time, why do I feel like it will take a bit to get in the home routine because I have been gone too long? Why do I not so secretly not want to fit back home? Why do I feel more peaceful than I have ever felt before while suffering from minor bits of being worried about maintaining good habits I have formed when thrown back into life at home? Am I in a great place or am I going to be a mess when I get home? And…months with nothing but time to think, why can’t I answer these questions?

I am eternally grateful for all of the support from home. Some travelers choose to disconnect while away, but for me, the messages from home, excitement of my people, and just general interest has meant a lot. I am excited to just listen and catch up on all of your years! That really excites me!

So, now…back to my favorite city in the world!!!!! Chicago, here I come!

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5 Responses to Feeling….GRATEFUL!

  1. Jackie Miuchelon says:

    You did it…YEAH!!

  2. Michelle Torrise says:

    Best of luck to you, Nancy! It’s been wonderful traveling with you virtually. Thank you for sharing your adventures so freely. I can’t wait to say hello in person!

  3. Angela says:

    It’s been so fun to follow your adventures! Be prepared for reverse culture shock. Have a safe trip home!

  4. Dear Nancy,
    For your friends and family at home, the dreams realized by your experiences of what seems like an eternity to us, and a blink of an eye to you, will soon be loving memories to be shared, but more importantly for you cherish forever.
    Coming home will be a period of adjustment. Not to be feared, but to be a fulfilling ending of a marvelous journey and new accomplishments. It will mark a period of your life where you have cultivated new friends and adventures.
    We look forward to seeing you again with open arms.
    Love,
    Cousin Bob

  5. Kathy says:

    Welcome Back to Chicago! Thank you for taking us on the journey with you… prayers for a good adjustment to life back here in the USA.

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