Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nost-Italia-stalgia



I'm not homesick at all... sorry, people at home.

For a start, I don't have a place I identify as 'home' - every place I've ever lived in England or Scotland now presumably has other people living in it (or is hopefully demolished in a couple of cases). And when I think of the countries themselves, the only sickness I feel is being sick of them, rather than longing to return. As well as memories of chip shop batter, that makes me feel a bit sick too.

But weirdly, I've recently started to feel sad pangs of longing for Italy of all places.


Why Italy?


I know, weird isn't it? I was only there for a couple of weeks, but I wrote a travel article about Venice last week, and typing words like 'Rialto' and 'San Marco' brought back a flood of images and feelings.

Did I really only spend five days in Venice? Wow, I really didn't blog so obsessively back then.




As the first stop on my travels and my new life, those five days naturally seemed longer. Even zanier, it seems I only spent four days in Florence and three in Naples (I didn't even go into Naples), before I headed to the disappointment of Greece, which I feel no nostalgia for whatsoever.

Thanks to my obsessive pre-booking of accommodation and trains a few weeks before (I stopped doing this immediately after), I didn't give myself time to take detours to places like Verona, Pisa and the Tuscan countryside that would have enriched my Italian experience even more. I still think I made the right decision by not bothering with Rome though: I wanted fond memories.


Deconstruction time again




As brilliant as Italy is, it's probably the psychology of this country being the first setting of my new life that's more at play here.

I'm not sure what I could be missing from those days though - I'm still doing the same thing I was back then, working a couple of hours a day and spending the rest of the time wandering around or doing stuff. I'm just a lot more experienced and level-headed now (yeah right - did you read this?)

I haven't got bored or disillusioned with travelling in the slightest - if anything, things keep getting better and I'm happier now. But I guess there is some unique, temporary glow that comes from leaving your job and boring life behind and setting out into the unknown.

I experienced this glow first and brightest when I arrived at university, then three years later when I moved to Edinburgh and started my working life (a little dulled by the end of a relationship, lack of money and unemployment gloom). So hopefully I'll feel it again in two years and three months' time when I'm scheduled to begin the next of my self-imposed three-year cycles (maybe that's where the teaching will come in?)



Dave up the Scott Monument, Edinburgh, in a previous life


Will things ever be this good again? If I have one worry, it's that this boundless freedom will one day be compromised and I'll feel nostalgic for now. God, I hope I don't have kids. What are we on, eight months and six days since I set off? Those first travel babies could start popping out any day now...

10 comments:

  1. Hahaha that last bit made me laugh! Geez I'm jealous of you, I can't believe how boring I was then who lived 3 years in Italy but I have not gone anywhere out of Milan except Venice which I did not even see the most of it because I have to leave really soon! I wish I'll be given a chance to go back there and travel next time. And Greece disappoint you? Why oh why? I guess you did not go to Santorini hey? That is my favorite place in Greece, city on a plateau! Surrounded by water? Magical sunsets, beach, was amazing! Still on my top list on my favorite places I have been to.

    And yes, I agree that most travelers are wanderers where home is where our heart is. :)

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  2. I just didn't have a very good experience - I was going to explore a lot, because I love Ancient Greek history and mythology, but I think I got scared away by Athens' pollution and junkies shooting up with heroin right outside my hostel.

    I'll go back some time, but can't see myself going back to Europe for at least a few years.

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  3. I guess you don't explore so much when you know you'll be living somewhere for a long time. I was in Scotland for 3 years, but didn't even properly go to the Highlands or any of the islands.

    I lived in England for 21 years and haven't seen too much of that either...

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  4. If you go back to Italy... I hope you find my Lily hat...

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  5. I expected to hate Florence, based on your harrowing tragedy, but actually really liked it. (Well, once I walked through the shit, stinking, scooter-strewn part and got to the nice historical part).

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  6. I was in Scotland for 17 years and didn't go to the islands (maybe to Skye when I was a kid but I don't really remember it). Want to take a trip back sometime? We can hire a boat and do them all. I know nothing about making boats go, but I'm sure we can work it out.

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  7. Only when going back to Scotland stops featuring in all my bad dreams. It will be a long, long time.

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  8. I'm sure Florence is lovely... I wouldn't know.. I was to traumatised *shakes fist at stupid Florence*
    Besides... we'd come from Venice, which I never wanted to leave because Venice is my most favourite place on Earth!

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  9. I just wrote about Venice again and got these feelings again. Maybe Venice is the best place in the world after all? Or maybe I'm more sentimental than I like to admit.

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  10. I've lived in Scotland for 25 years (and counting) and up until I was 22 the furthest north I'd been was St Andrews. I'd never been to the highlands until last December and that was only because work sent me. And why would I want to go to the Islands? No point in leaving Edinburgh and going to the heathen parts of the country where they don't have chippy sauce, stick to the islands in Thailand. At least they're sunny.

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