(su antiche rovine e l’ansia di viaggio e un sacco di cibo)
You can’t turn down $700 flights to Rome. Every week or two the travel bug hits and I start typing random places into travel search engines to see if there are any good deals. And there it was, including tax. I called Jam:
‘any plans for the first two weeks of August?’
‘not that I know of’
‘we can get to Rome for $700 each’
And that was that.
We cast off with no specifics: rent a car, choose places (Rome, Venice, Florence, Orvieto), book hotels because it’s high tourist season. And with these as our compass points, we set off to explore.
Travel causes me equal amounts of excitement and anxiety. The excitement comes first: I get the itch, book the tickets (impulsively, always), and remain excited until it’s time to leave for the airport, at which point the anxiety sets in. Transitions aren’t the easiest: lately my internal dialogue takes on a reassuring tone and coos ‘it’s just change’ as if I were a child having a tantrum. And then there is the arrival. The disassociation: Where am I? Who am I? What year is it? The basic ‘I exist’ mantras that we have about ourselves that we don’t even notice most of the time drop away and I feel utter panic. Am I just a pair of eyes floating through space? A wisp of a soul, a spectre? Without context, do I exist at all? That’s when I start looking at plants, repeating their names to myself like a mantra: Magnolia for relief. Poplar, joy. Alianthus, irritation (have they invaded everywhere?). Dock, fondness. A field full of sunflowers with their heads all facing the same direction, awe. Then they start coming faster as the car zips along: apple, olive, peach, plum. Passiflora, poke, pine, pine, pine. Each name ekes out a little space for me in the ground, like a root digging its way into the earth establishing its own existence. By the time we get to the hotel, I have context again: my name is Rebecca and I am in Rome. This is the magnolia tree outside our hotel door; that is the pine at the park up the street. I have a place and it is, for right now, here. Continue reading