Reflections from Sardinia
by Victoria Handley
So another step into the unknown. I call it adventure.
A little scary at times but thats what makes it exciting, on the edge rather than safe, predicable.
Solo travel is like that. It's even a little more 'edgy' than one is comfortable with sometimes. Taking slightly more of a step into places where I'd rather not be. Alone with your thoughts, feelings of insecurity, fear. Perhaps not fear but an underlying anxiety that sits quietly in the belly.
Then suddenly it disappears. There's a connection with another, perhaps brief, but kind and warm, heartening. I am reminded of the web between people that draws us in... humility. I like it. Acts of kindness, caring and friendship from strangers, a bus driver, a woman in the seat next to me, simple things. It only takes a smile, an openess for connection.
Fear turns to excitement and I am on the road again looking forward.
The bus winds past ancient landscapes, dry, crusty and at the same time green and fertile. It's different, something familiar from a picture book or filed away from a magazine, a movie perhaps. And here I am in this place, reminded how life exists all over the world in all places, cultures, day by day, moment by moment for everyone. These are my moments precious to me only. My life my experiences, my perceptions.
I sit in a small cafe found around the corner from the bus exchange in Nuoro, Sardinia. A two-hour bus trip behind me along the coast and into rock-filled hills. Long winding roads. People climb on and off the bus, exchanging loud Italian, a language in some way familiar. I follow their stories with interest, deciphering them, playing small games for amusement with my imagination, probably completely wrong in my interpretation, because it always feels to intense, emotions flying. No, probably just asking for directions or how much a ticket costs.
I see black-skinned young men hoping off at tourist villages with large narrow boxes. I wonder about their lives of selling cheap sunglasses to tourists on the beach. I wonder what and where they have come from. Tunisia perhaps? Refugees? Were they doctors and lawyers in their other life? Who did they leave? Why? What happened that they would leave their home, their culture, their country?
So many displaced people all over the world hoping for a better, safer life for themselves and their families. I am privileged. I have choice, money, safety, education, freedom. Here I am in my cafe seeking adventure, nine weeks' paid holiday. Australia is the lucky country it seems to me today. I am one of the lucky people who has it all. I am me. Today a solo traveller by choice. The seeking I do comes from freedom, not necessity.
An inspiring woman I met in Turkey recently gave me a parting gift of words by Rumi:
"No matter who we are or where we live, deep inside we all feel incomplete. Its like we have lost something and need to get it back. Just what that something is, most of us never find out. And of those who do, even fewer manage to go out and look for it."
Time to get practical, pay for my lunch and pull my cart back to the bus station for another two or three hour stint...to embrace whatever comes my way.
Saint Maria Navarese, Sardinia