I have spent the last five years writing on my very small, seldom visited blog. I never started this blog for business purposes or to form a brand. I just felt a compulsion to write. To share my thoughts and feelings and to tell a story that might resonate with someone else. I have always loved expressing ideas in written words, telling stories, putting things down on paper to save for later reference.
I just felt a compulsion to write. To share my thoughts and feelings and to tell a story that might resonate with someone else.
My fifth grade teacher, Miss Murphy always urged us to write, and she required the entire class keep a daily journal. Time was set aside each day to write in class, and we were encouraged to not just write chronologically, but to put down our thoughts or write a story. I can remember with exact clarity the day she took me aside from and told me privately that my writing was astounding, that my stories were so vividly written that she felt like she was there, and that I should never give up this gift. Well, who knows anything in fifth grade? I moved on with life–middle school, high school, college, and the urge to write, the need to put words on paper persisted.
Enter Pink Pangea, an amazing find on the internet–like-minded women, travelers, and writers. I wanted to be on that island. It became a part of my daily practice– reading others’ writing, learning astounding facts about cities I yearned to visit, and watching from a distance as women traveled to exotic places around the world, all on their own.
Until I came across the posting for the writing workshop in Venice. Venice! I imagined myself developing and expanding my writing abilities surrounded by women in an ancient city on the Adriatic. Then reality hit–it’s for women only. I would have to travel there on my own. My husband and I have been to four of the seven continents during our travels, so I consider myself an accomplished navigator and traveler. Yet, I had never, however, done any of these things on my own.
For several weeks, I went to the Pink Pangea website daily, reading the itinerary and description of the workshop over and over again. The fear of traveling to Venice on my own seemed insurmountable, and it was as if I was waiting for someone or something to convince me that I could do it.
Then a lighting bolt struck. I came across this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “Do one thing everyday that scares you.”
That was all I needed, the proverbial straw, the final chord, the denouement. I booked the workshop, booked my flights, and to really make sure I got the most out of learning to travel alone, I also booked four extra days in Venice after the workshop. Those four days were for me to prove to myself that this was surely a new way of life for me, and would reveal a whole different aspect of what I was capable of doing.
The workshop was life altering. Our facilitator, Jaclyn, was the perfect match for my nervous and anxious interior. Her ability to draw writing out of me through prompts and kind suggestions was just what my writing needed. Another added bonus was the amazing group of women I was surrounded by. All of the personalities and all of the nationalities jelled almost instantly into longtime friends.
Following the workshop, I moved to a hotel on the Grand Canal in the Canneragio neighborhood, just across from the Rialto Market. Now I was truly traveling alone. I took walks everyday, got gloriously lost again and again, and miraculously, the city began to feel like my neighborhood. I purchased my espresso in the same little cafe each morning, passed the same shops on my walks and began to feel a part of the life in this small part of Venice.
The change began when the first American mistook me for an Italian, “Excuse me, do you speak English?”
In one day of wandering the streets of Venice alone, I had become someone else, changed forever by my ability to “do one thing everyday that scares you.”
I blushed deeply and smiled so widely I believe I frightened the poor woman. “Yes, but very little,” I responded.
We had a great laugh and she kept telling me that when she first saw me she was sure that I was from Venice. Three more times that day I was mistaken for a Venetian, and each time, I felt like a trophy had been handed to me. For me to be mistaken for someone who lives in particular city, means I have, most assuredly, taken on the characteristics of the place I have traveled to. In one day of wandering the streets of Venice alone, I had become someone else, changed forever by my ability to “do one thing everyday that scares you.”