Mi Sento a Casa

People have asked why I go back to the same place – Tuscany – rather than going somewhere new. My response has always been that it is because I enjoy it there so much! I feel authentically myself there, have good friends to spend time with, can always find a new restaurant or glass of wine and it feels like home.

This last trip, to celebrate my 62nd birthday with my husband, was no exception. We experienced a new accommodation in a familiar location; spent quality time with good friends, renewed old relationships and made new ones; ate and drank well whether in our apartment or in restaurants we had never discovered before; read a couple of new books and re-read an old one; and maintained a good balance of relaxation and activity. But I still hear those voices saying, “Tuscany? Again?”.

Reflecting on that has brought to mind a memory from the time that I worked at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Because I worked in the Education Department, I had the privilege of participating in many workshops and programs related to Guthrie productions. At one of those workshops, in conjunction with the Garland Wright production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, an English teacher from Eden Prairie High School was asked to talk about the text of the play. In my mind’s eye, I can see her standing on the stage and hear her voice saying, “This text does not change, it is the reader, the audience member, who is different each and every time you read or see Hamlet.” And that is what I realized this morning, when jet lag had me awake at 4 a.m.! I am a different person every time I go to Tuscany.

The book that I re-read during this trip is one that I have actually read 6 times, usually when I am experiencing a particularly challenging narrow spot. I thought it would be interesting to read it in different circumstances. Guess what, I am a different person than I was the last time I read it (7 years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer) and I gained very new and different insights in what I read this time. The book has not changed, I have.

Life experiences bring new understanding and challenges. Going to a familiar place allows me time for reflection and absorption of those life experiences, allowing for personal growth. I am fortunate and comfortable in the knowledge that I am at home in Tuscany.

I am grateful for all of the travel experiences that I have had in my life and have certainly traveled to many locations that are not Tuscany! But when the opportunity presents itself, I will choose to go there at any time of the year. Mi sento a casa a Toscana.

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