Tell me: How did she get here?

She stands alone, expressionless and oblivious to her surroundings as people swarm around her. She hears nothing. Sees nothing.

It is a city – somewhere, anywhere. The people have no time for anyone, not even themselves. They dress in Prada, Gucci, Burberry handbags in tow, entranced by their latest portable toys, faces obscured by sunglasses that bring the movie ‘The Fly’ to mind.

She stands still staring vacantly into nowhere, blue jeans torn, pink shirt faded, shoeless, and makeup-less.

She is suddenly jolted into reality by a man plunging into her shoulder, catapulting her backwards into the miscoloured concrete. He doesn’t notice, or he does not care, and is soon lost in the faceless crowd.

She strains to pick herself up from the ground, arms trembling and tears welling, as the emotions come flooding in.

How did she get here? 

Tell me – what is the next chapter in the story?


Possessed by Roma

I’ve been thinking about Italy a lot lately. I’m not exactly sure why, although a number of things come to mind now I’m writing about it.

A blogging friend of mine has recently introduced me to her ‘other’ blog – titled ‘Browsing Rome.’ Along with our tweet-chats of travel, the travel taste buds are definitely being tantalised!

I recently dug out my old travel journals, and have revisited my earlier journeys…the wonderful Roma featuring in 2 of them. Even with the dodgy hostels, bed bugs, sleazy Italian Lothario’s, Roma stands out in my mind as the place that made an ever-lasting impression on me.

Roman ruins

I’ve gone through my photos from my European journeys, my feet getting itchier with every viewing.

I’m just about to turn 34. My first trip to Italy (anywhere further than Singapore) was 10 years ago this September when I was 24, young, eager and naïve. My life-long friend Karina and I embarked on a 6 week backpacking trip around Italy…The September 11 terrorist attacks had just occurred, and we had made the decision to still go – as ‘we only lived once’. Our families were freaked out…especially my Dad, who tried to stop me from leaving at the airport, scaring Karina in the process (perhaps it was his dark, looming prowess). We had the most amazing experience, of which changed us forever (and it actually ended up being possibly the safest time to travel). I can clearly remember now sitting on a street corner, outside of one of the ancient churches, watching the tanks roll by; and then having our backpacks full of 5 week old, sweaty clothes searched by tall, dark, machine-gun toting soldiers at the Roma train station (whilst scratching our infected bed bug sores).

Ah Roma, I miss thee so.

Tell me, has any place you have visited ever possessed you? 

It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference – Tom Brokaw

I keep thinking about what I am going to do when I’m ‘unemployed’, so much so that this weekend I have been busily trying to stop myself thinking about what I am going to do when I am unemployed. I cleaned the fridge, bathed the dog, attempted to giver her a hair cut, mopped the floor, washed clothes, swept, cleaned the stove, rearranged stuff…

I was asked ‘the question’ so many times on Friday night…and I provided an array of answers:

Let Sleeping Children Lie

Image by stewickie via Flickr

‘I’m taking some time off.’

‘I’m going to sleep.’

‘I’m cleaning the house.’

‘I’m going to write…lots.’

‘I’m hanging with my dog.’

‘I’m spending time with family.’

‘I’ll start my book.’

‘I’ll work out whether I change careers, or not.’

‘I don’t know. I don’t want to rush into anything.’

‘I’ll decide on my month off.’

They are all fairly airy fairy answers, and they possibly didn’t provide many people with a feeling of assurance. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I know what I want, what I don’t want, what is important, and what isn’t.

What is important is my health, my friends, my family, and my happiness. What isn’t is everything that gets in the way of that. 

And what I want? It’s to make a difference. Unfortunately, if I tell certain people that they just scoff. So, instead of telling, I’ll just go ahead and do it anyway.

Stay tuned for the start of ‘The Beauty of Difference‘ series, kicking off on Reflections From a Red Head on 1 September 2011.

I thought I could drown my sorrows…but my sorrows learn’t to swim. Bono

Ponte Vecchio and bank of Arno in Florence, It...

Image via Wikipedia

I first heard this quote in 2001 whilst sitting in a Backpackers hostel in Florence, Italy.  I was drinking nasty, cheap wine, whilst battling feelings of missing my boyfriend at the time, wondering why he hadn’t emailed me yet, and stressing because I was really enjoying my freedom. And so I sat, pouring my thoughts into my travel journal, hoping that I could write or drink away my moods.

At that moment that one of the mates walked in on me (I had been backpacking with 2 friends). In seeing me sitting there, and being a tad tipsy himself, he quoted Bono to me:

‘I thought I could drown my sorrows…but my sorrows learn’t to swim’.

He had thought it was a relative quote for the moment. And it was – to the way all of us were feeling at that specific time in our journey. At the time we were all on a real downer for one reason or another, were physically and mentally exhausted, had been over-thinking and dwelling of silly stuff, and were really hanging onto some anti-social moods (this is according to what I wrote in my journal).

It was in that moment that I realised how similar we all were. This thought carried through to the next day when Nigel and I realised that the result of trying to drown ones sorrows with cheap wine – that I’m presuming only poor backpackers drank whilst in Italy – was the feeling of self-pity and a very sore head.