I’m losing track of months and weeks and days again…all I know is that I wake and sleep, and time slips by unnoticed on its tip toes while I do so.
The eighth month: Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, and Italy.
Some discoveries: If I came back this way, I’d skip Croatia, where everyone seems to get stuck on the gorgeous but pebbly Adriatic, and go straight through to Montenegro – with its fjords, mountains and beaches it is well worth revisiting in detail. But I wouldn’t go as far as Albania again – if Berat is the highlight of the country then the country still has a long way to go. Though I can’t say I’m not glad I went: I once vowed to “be my own search engine” and with Albania, for the first time, I felt that maybe I was on the right path: amidst the stray dogs and donkey carts all mingling with the Mercedes’ on the pot-holed highways lined with unfinished buildings there was still no worry for our security, and I would not have known that unless I went.
But the small town of Cornuda in northern Italy was the biggest surprise: real Italian means nothing in a world of Venetian farmer dialect, and as the language barrier exacerbated minor issues I had previously stifled, I tumbled into a deeper low than I had felt in a long time. Personal relationships hung in the balance for a moment as I struggled between wanting to take the experience head on and yet not wanting to have anything to do with the world. When it got better I flew higher than I had been in months, and felt a love I hadn’t since before I left.
But more and more I’m haunted by that silent intangible ghost of my life back home: I miss my family, my friends, my old apartment, a consistent connection to the interwebs, and even the mindlessness of waking up and going to work each day… It’s silly – I’m doing what I’ve wanted to do my whole life. And then my fears: what now? Soon I’ll be diving into a new world I know nothing about and this time actually on my own. Am I ready? Will my money last? Will my sanity? Will I have to come home early? Will I feel like a failure? Only one way to find out.
Until then, I’ve the rest of my birthday week in Rome, and then it’s sunny southbound through the rest of Italy and then…? It’s strange…I do miss my routine but damn I love not knowing.