I just returned from an amazing adventure in Europe and two weeks ago I wrote about my time in Croatia and the wonderful immersion there. I did not write last week as I was immersed in another type of experience. A re-connection with a someone who I had met 16 months earlier. Just being with her confirmed the feelings I had when I first met her in February of 2020. It was truly a liberation for me, one I had missed as travel is such an integral part of my being which had been taken away because of Covid. I knew in my heart that I would see her again, and never wavered even in the darkest times in recent history, to return to her, fulfilling a dream, once so distant, a promise to myself and to her. My time in Rome was truly transformational and spending time with Rosa, a life changing event, exploring the city in ways I had not done before and seeing many things through her eyes.
We also went to Tivoli Naples, Nettuno and Anzio among other places in my 10 days in Italy. The beaches at Anzio were where in 1943, the Allies landed to liberate Italy from the shackles of Mussolini and Hitler, opening up a second front as preparation for the invasion of Normandy a year later. I walked amongst the Crosses and Stars of David in the American Cemetery in Nettuno and the Commonwealth Cemetery in Anzio, reflecting on the sacrifice of these men and women who lives were given in the cause of freedom, thousands, of all ages, ranks and many places around the world. I remember doing this last year when I was in Sicily and I was once again awed by the sacrifice.
We should never forget, this piece written on Independence Day, that this freedom we have here in the United States, is not free. Lives were lost in the cause of freedom 245 years ago and many times since in our fairly short history compared to other countries around the world. If I have learned anything more fully, life is too short and should not be taken for granted. The time we have is even more precious and I made the most of my nearly month in Europe. Missing out on the experiences I was so used to, traveling the world and planning adventures for my valued clients, most put on hold gave me pause to reflect. Much has happened in the last 16 + months in my life and I feel much freer than I did this time last year.
Of course, we will have enjoyed the fireworks, the parades, the barbeques and now, after nearly 17 months of the stresses of Covid, spending time with family and friends in groups once again in a more “normal” way as these happenings were taken away from us last year. We still have to be vigilant about Covid and its existence, which is still here, but it is nice to know that life seems to be getting back to normal. I know that I appreciate it more than I ever had and feeling alive again feels wonderful, not just existing.
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Weathering the Storm with the Wandering Puffin