Things have taken a major turn for the better since that night when I cried in front of my waitress. I finally had a couple of days off to sleep in, relax, eat, spend time with co-leaders and recharge. It´s powerful what a little bit of rest can do for your well-being. The time off rejuvenated me and I began to get excited for my next trip. I would be supporting a 6 person Premier Inn walking trip; In other words, paid vacation for Tracy! (Support driving a walking trip is much easier than supporting a biking trip, and with only 6 people to support, it was sure to be a breeze).
The trip turned out to be the break that I was hoping for. It was beautiful, relaxing and above all, fun! My co-leaders Steve and Zala taught me how to be silly and have fun with guests. We were also fortunate to have really wonderful guests who joined in the silliness and together we created so many memorable moments: An impromptu apperitivo bar in the hotel parking lot with Negronies and dancing, karaoke on the bus to Siena, and preparing for the rain that never came with shower caps, to name just a few. We were all laughing so hard that our stomachs hurt.
|The Negroni is made with Campari, Gin, Sweet Vermouth and orange slices|
The trip was so smooth and enjoyable that it felt like it was our own vacation with new friends. We could have easily kept going after 6 days of fun. In fact, we did keep going. After we said our goodbyes to guests, two of them invited us to join them the next day for lunch and wine tasting in Montalcino, land of the famous Brunello wines. (They even offered to let us crash their B&B!) It was a nice offer, but we were all thinking we should let them have their own time and that we should get caught up on paperwork, errands and life. As we drove away, winding our way up and down the peaceful Tuscan hills, a silence and nostalgia set in. Our week of fun had come to an end. As we descended into the not-so-picturesque San Giovanni, through the busy streets and to the warehouse and then to the crowded leader house, reality set in. I yearned to go back to the land of grapes and olives and cypress tress.
We unpacked the van and as we circled in for a group hug we all seemed to have the same thought: Let's do it! Our time is short out here, so we may as well make the most of it. Another co-leader, Sky, agreed to join us and the next morning we were on the road with our bags, bikes and tunes. Italy road trip, wooh! We met up with our guests for lunch and a wine tasting and then took off on our own adventure, down through Tuscany and into southern Umbria. Along the way we visited little hilltop towns like Pienza, Cortona and Assisi. We rode our bikes along quiet roads past grape vines, had lunch at Lago Trasimeno, visited an underground wine cellar in Montepulciano, danced and sang along to good tunes in the car, ate well, drank well and had the time of our lives. We extended the last day of our trip by purchasing fancy wine glasses in Cortona and stopping in a little town on the way back to the leader house to sit in the park and watch the sun set with a bottle of wine and pecorino cheese.
I have a new appreciation for this opportunity to live and work in beautiful Italy. There's a reason why I dreamed about coming here.
I hope my dear family and friends have not been too worried about me after reading my last post. Although happiness is what most of us strive for, I think that being sad when appropriate is necessary too. It's not only normal, but it's also healthy because it's real. The low times in our lives help us to recognize and appreciate the good times.
Thank you for reading, showing understanding and for sending me positive energy and blessings. My love goes out to all of you, and I am grateful for the reminder that love and friendship is essential for our happiness and well-being.