Florence, I’m coming back!

Yep, it’s official. Today I booked a trip back to la città che riempie il mio cuore. Florence, I’m coming back to you!

I’ve been yearning to return for almost two years now, since departing from my four-month stay. It was hard to accept my time there as a past chapter in my life — a past chapter which cannot continue and cannot be relived. But it’s a chapter worth rereading.

There’s something very human about the need to revisit past experiences which bring us immense joy. Taking your kids to Disneyworld, seeing an old friend, eating your mom’s signature dish, taking a stroll through your childhood park… We are all driven to do these kinds of things. And we never expect them to be exactly the same or mean exactly the same thing as they once did: we accept them as past chapters, but we feel rekindled by rereading them. Or maybe we just feel clarity.

Something has been calling me to go say hello to Florence again. Yes, I acknowledge that the circumstances won’t be the same, and that maybe the Florence I remember might not be the same either. (Although, I’d be shocked if the BC-dated buildings finally gave in). But what I do know for sure is that pages will be much easier to flip forward once this chapter is reread.

“Follow your bliss.”


More posts about plans & such to come…

Song lyrics to live by while abroad

For centuries we’ve been told this message in film, music, literature and all kinds of cultural expressions conjured from ancient times to the Grand Tour and beyond: going abroad will change you. I don’t know how much I’m undergoing change versus how much I’m just rediscovering who I really am and what values are truly important to me…but all I know is that I am the purest form of happy that I’ve been in a long time, and I hope the mentalities I’m [re]learning never fade.

I can feel my life-balance being restored. I can see a glowing aura return. There is passion, curiosity, self-confidence, love and generosity surging through my body again with an intangible force that can’t be reckoned with. For once, I feel complete for accepting that I am incomplete.

This blog began with a post that told my story through three songs which guided my initial journey here. Now, at about the half-way point (/cry), I’d like to highlight a few song lyrics that have really struck me when hearing them over the past few weeks. These–especially the last one, in my travel-lovestruck opinion, are words to live by while abroad…and hopefully beyond:

“Just for Tonight” by The Tonight Life

I’ve had enough of
wasting my time on
trying to make up my mind.

Tonight’s the night that it all comes alive,
’cause kids like us our hearts will never die.
My mind is always spinning
and I still don’t know the meaning,
sleeping dreaming talking breathing,
oh my God it keeps repeating.

“The Cave” by Mumford & Sons

Cause I need freedom now
And I need to know how
To live my life as it’s meant to be

And I’ll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I’ll know my name as it’s called again

“Bottled Wind” by Polar Bear Club

So let me tell you once and not again
Are we half asleep or walking dead?

I’ll tell it and be done,
Sinking is how swimming isn’t sunk

“Come Talk to Me” by Peter Gabriel

Whatever fear invents, I swear it make no sense
I reach out through the border fence

“Master of Art” by Laura Stevenson and the Cans

until I am a Master of Art,
Until I have done everything.

And we’ll move to it away,
Won’t break our fingers when we wake up
And we’ll stay inside a shape,
And we will never ever worry
Never ever worry, yeah.

“Reasons Not to Be An Idiot” by Frank Turner

So get up and get down and get outside.
‘Cause it’s a lovely sunny day,
But you hide yourself away.
You’ve only got yourself to blame.
Get up and get down and get outside.

“Miles Davis and the Cool” by The Gaslight Anthem

Now honey, put on your red dress,
and your diamond soled shoes.
Climb on down from that window,
climb on out of your room.

My how the years and our youth pass on.

“I knew Prufrock before he got famous” by Frank Turner

Life is about love,
last minutes and lost evenings,
About fire in our bellies and furtive little feelings,
And the aching amplitudes that set our needles all a-flickering,
And help us with remembering that the only thing that’s left to do is live.

After all the loving and the losing,
For the heroes and the pioneers,
The only thing that’s left to do
Is get another round in at the bar.