7 September 2018
I previously mentioned a life list, not bucket list, and discussed the reason I call it a life list. In the past week and a half, I have crossed a few more items off my list while adding more.
- Disneyland Paris-had a blast. I stood in lines reading a book. Effective use of time; if I’m not writing, I’m reading.
- Return to Paris. I still haven’t taken the stairs up the Eiffel Tower; have walked around it and seen it from a boat. A good reason to return. That, and I would love to go back up to the Bell Tower of Notre Dame and spend more time with the gargoyles.
- It’s been eight years, and I am smiling because I have returned. What’s not to love…the wine, the gelato; the beautiful scenery, the architecture, rolling hills and the placement of the buildings, the culture, and I simply love the language. I fell in love with Italy at first sight in 2010 and that love has not waivered.
Our excursion was cancelled so my girlfriend and I slept in (for some much needed rest; again, we don’t get much sleep during committee work), then ventured out, deciding to hire a taxi driver to take us around Napoli (Naples) on Monday (Labor Day in the U.S.). He took us to La Pizzeria da Michele, where the line is at least 40 minutes long. He knew someone on the inside and got us seated immediately. We had no choice but to sit with two other people (four at a table), and eventually struck up a conversation with two young women from Kuwait, working in the oil industry, Of course, with my friend and I being involved with SPE, we plugged the organization while speaking a little bit about some of the people they may have met from around the industry.
The neat thing about this pizza place was that a signed photo, of/by Julia Roberts, hung on the wall. She ate in the same place during Eat, Pray, Love. I can almost see this trip as part of my EPL, while tossing in a bit of Under the Tuscan Sun. There are pieces missing, but it’s what we make of it, and I’m still on the World Tour of Karen.
Our driver took us to other places that we would have not been able to see on foot. My friend has bad knees (she’s in her 60’s) but is a good sport. Hell, I injured my hip the week before leaving for Paris and tweaked it again in Paris; a minor, yet annoying, setback.
- Madrid was my first stop. Barcelona will be my second.
- Swam in the Mediterranean Sea.
As I mentioned before, it’s a new life, new memories and a new passport. I still find myself writing everywhere. Being away from home, I discovered I am writing even more. While I want to say it’s crazy that it happens this way, it simply means I’m less distracted. I can write anywhere.
The balcony is closed off to washing (Tuesday), so I left my friend to retire early, and I am sitting in a sports bar (say it isn’t so!) writing this blog and working on my novel. I’m tucked away in a corner where I can also people watch.
Again, this is the smoothest sailing cruise I’ve ever been on. Ms. Foodie would absolutely love this cruise for not only the smooth seas, but also for the ethnic food around the cities and on the boat. This isn’t the geriatric cruise I was last on, but things do close down early and open after 7am; I can’t go to the gym at 6am because they’re not open! Welcome to the lifestyle of Europe.
Lastly, this certainly isn’t a cruise for single people. There aren’t any singles events and my damn hip is killing me too much to even think about dancing. Despite everything, my friend has been a really good person to have in my life for so many years (12, I think), and she is grateful she had someone of equal fun to cruise with. If we get to meet in Germany next fall, we’re talking of a Rhine cruise, and I’ve already alerted some people to join in on the fun. Life is too damn short to sit at home, and I had zero intentions of letting someone ruin my chance at a future of happiness. Ever since June 2, 2017, I have done nothing but enjoy activities that makes me happy.
I wrote in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius during a sunset on Monday. Tuesday, I watched smoke trickle upward out of Mount Etna. I missed a Pompeii excursion, but it gives me a reason to return. I got some serious beach time, and this blondie is darker than bronze now. I have at least two more days of sun I can enjoy, so I can return home to be the envy of everyone and decide if now’s the time to move into size 10 clothes, shed more of my closet and continue to downsize. Then again, I am traveling most of September, so it may become an October to-do list.
(Uh oh. Side note. Tuesday was karaoke night in the Sports Bar and I was talked into singing. For any friends back home-go ahead and laugh. It’s the only bar that has an IPA, and the bartenders know me by name.)
…Sherill…where on Earth are you??????? You belong on this cruise!!!!!
What does all of this have to do with writing? Everything. Writing is about life. Life is about experiences. Writing is about experiences. Writing is my life. The karaoke-hecklers (fun group of guys/staff from the Dominican Republic and South Africa) were asking me if I was working. “Yes. My work is writing.” These are the questions that spark conversations. These are the conversations I’m passionate about.
Here’s the funny thing about writers. Most of us are approachable. Ask me why I’m sitting in a corner with my computer, a glass of wine and water. I may look alone, but I’m never alone. Sit down in my area and ask me where I’m from. “No, no family. No, no children.” Ask me what I write, maybe even why I write, and anything related to writing. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. I think the karaoke guys were rather impressed; they stopped by every now and then asking me if things are going okay. Yep. I listen to people sing and continue to write. I told JMP I was going to write until the battery died on my Surface.
As one single person, amongst 5,800 people, in the middle of the Mediterranean, I have tossed the last of an old life overboard (finally), tried speaking four languages I have been studying for long and short periods of time-and really confusing them since I am using 3 out of 4 on this trip; hopped back in a cruise boat, took my first steps alone in a new foreign country, and made a trip to Disneyland Paris.
Not too shabby. I keep telling my friend, “life is good, and I really can’t complain.” I keep writing. I strive to meet my writing goal every day, no matter where I am. I have the best support network who gives me the moments I need to quiet my thoughts through blogs and working on my novels, short stories and poetry. Despite everything: love, loss, trials and tribulations, the curveballs, and praying every day I get to wake up to have Duke with me just one day, I work really, really hard so that I can enjoy life…and have the material from experiences to keep writing.
Yes, this trip has been significant on so many levels. I can’t help but think what else is next. Where the next stepping stone will take me. What I’ll do. Where I’ll go. What I’ll write. The people I will meet. The adventures I will be part of, and how much of me I am more now than ever before. Only time will tell. Or perhaps it will be the next opportunity.
Overall, Tuesday was a good day; it’s been a good trip. This green-eyed blondie needs to keep moving forward in her new chapter.
Thank you, to all of my readers, for following me on this journey. Welcome to my newest readers.
Above: Street of Taormina. Below: Mt. Etna and sunset with view of Mt. Vesuvius (Italy). Copyright @2018 Jade Bookends, LLC