Still recovering from a nasty cold and one extremely long and tiring day of travel, I was feeling pretty down. My mind easily wandered to simpler times of assured comfort in what used to be called “home” – curled up on an overstuffed couch, watching a movie on the big screen, with a fluffy cat cuddled and purring.
I was burnt out. And as always happens with extreme lows – questions of purpose and the future ran rampant in my thoughts. Could I really keep this up?
We arrived in Trapani late and with much relief. Away from the noisy mess of Catania, and a long day of three different trains and one bus, we were unexpectedly greeted at the train station by the owner of our booked B&B and she led us to immediate comfort and sweet sleep.
Being a small city of only 80,000, situated on the rocky west coast of Sicily where the Tyrrhean and Mediterranean Seas meet, Trapani was a breath of fresh air. Laid back, secure, and with gorgeous coastal views from nearly everywhere, we relaxed. We were determined to sleep in, eat like royalty, and fight back against the funk that had crept in the previous few days.
On our first day we caught a ferry to Favignana. A small island just thirty minutes from Trapani, it is known for its tuna and use of an ancient Arab fishing technique of setting nets in a maze. And in the off-season, it’s known for being quite empty. Perfect.
We rented bikes, and ventured off to explore. With no map in hand, we relied on the directions of the bike shop owner. He said “left“, but indicated the right. When questioned, he changed his tune: “right, right!”
After 1/2 hour of biking uphill, into the wind, and in the wrong direction, we realized he should have said “left, left!”
We grumbled, turned around and carried on, stopping briefly when the sun peaked out to light up the sparkling green water lapping gently beside us. Most of the time a chill breeze cut through us, and we biked under the threat of light storm clouds all around. They finally forced us off the road and under big trees for refuge, frantically retrieving rain covers for our camera bag and ourselves.
The rain let up and we continued on. Soon, pavement gave way to soft sand roads. The empty shoreline was lined with complex patterns of jagged rocks and the odd patch of white sand. We did some gentle hiking among the rocks and up to a viewpoint, but most of our time was spent aimlessly gazing out at the water. Boats came in, ferries left. The sun made us sweat one minute, the breeze caused goosebumps the next.
With each serene minute that passed, our irritability from the previous days dissolved. There was no pressing rush of travel, no feelings of discomfort in our surroundings. This day was ours alone to enjoy. We were in an obscure and improbable place on the planet, on the corner of a small island off of a bigger island off of the coast of Italy, and it was ours. Except for the odd fishermen casually casting their lines from shore, we reveled in the silence, the open view and the fresh air.
And as we returned to the port and watched the sun set before boarding a ferry back to Trapani, I breathed deep, and smiled. That day was just what I needed.
For all the sick days, musty hostels, wrong turns, rain storms, and more…
We have sparks of brilliance in foreign places when we feel untouchable. And when we surely believe we are the most fortunate people in the world.
This is our life.
And it is amazing.
Odd how we put “home” in apostrophes–because we really don’t have one.
Here are my thought re:”home”
“Home” is wherever Pete is. So for me, that can be anywhere! 🙂
Like you, we saw Favignana in not the best weather but even then it made me want to return in the same way your spirits were lifted. It’s a special place that can restore your soul in a day.
jenny@atasteoftravel recently posted..Faces of Rajasthan
Oh, I wish we had more time to spend there, but somehow know we will be back. Trapani and Favignana ended up being one of our favorite places in Italy!
Isn’t wonderful how a good day can completely lift you out of a slump? I always find it’s the really simple moments, the quiet moments when I feel grateful for my life and everything I’ve learned. I hope there are many more amazing travel moments for you this year.
Thanks so much Alouise! Even a few spectacular moments in a string of bad days can be enough to make it all worth it. We’re so grateful for this life that we have!
I just love it when you get grumpy! Well, I don’t love that you’re feeling grumpy (or sick, or down) per se. But I love that you put it all out there. So many location independent blogs just gloss over any downsides to this chosen lifestyle–but you put it all right out there–the good with the bad, the up with the down.
Bottom line is that living a location independent life is like living any kind of life. There are great days and…ummm…you know…the ones that suck!
So glad you’re on the upswing!
Haha, well I’m glad my grumpiness can serve a purpose then! I have to get some whining in every once in awhile, I’ve gotta be true! Did hit a bit of a bottom with all the *too* hecktic travel, but am now very much on an upswing! 🙂
We constantly have days where we crash and then have mini anxiety attacks of whether or not we should be traveling full-time (and by “we” I mean only “me” 😛 ) …. but then I watch half a season of Parks and Rec, take a nap or two, and pull myself out of my funk. Mostly I think it’s related to exhaustion – traveling all the time is a lot of work. Glad you find a good way to recharge. 🙂
Ahh…Parks and Rec. Our “go to” is The Office or 30 Rock. If only Amy, Steve and Tina knew how valuable they are to fatigued travelers! 🙂
I can only imagine your life. Ten years ago on the Amazon River, I shared a boat with a young woman from England and a young man from New Jersey. At the time, I thought how do they have the nerve to travel the world alone at their ages Now, I look back and realize how wise beyond their years they were to do what you love without waiting until “the time is right.”
Jeff recently posted..Hut to Hut Hiking in the White Mountains
The thing is, the time is NEVER right. I often think that we should have started earlier (in our 20s), but there are always reasons to put it off. Now, I’m just glad we finally did it. No regrets, even on the worst days! 🙂
You made it to the best part of Sicily – the mythic, windy and rugged west. It’s my favorite place on earth; my husband’s family is in Trapani province. GORGEOUS pics!
Thank you! We loved our three days there SO MUCH, and may return next winter. I can’t believe it’s not more touristy then it is – it was definitely our favorite part as well.
Awww, I love moments like that. Beautiful.
DTravelsRound recently posted..Up-close with elephants: a photo essay of life with an Elephant Nature Park herd
Thanks Diana! 🙂
Glad to hear you are getting over the travel burn out
You are very, very fortunate to have both love and adventure in your life. That you don’t take it for granted and appreciate all of the moments, big and small, are why I could read about your travels all day!
Abby – you are the sweetest. Thank you! 🙂
It’s now my fifth day on my oversized couch in London at “home”, settling into expat life for a while at least. Five days and I sort of already miss the road 🙂 Of course there are going to be ups and downs on a location independent life, but hey if it was all sunshine what fun would that be … wait no, never mind…
Haha! Yes, it doesn’t take me long after getting settled to suddenly have a wave of “travel mojo” and be ready to get back on the road again. Thankfully we still have a few tricks up our sleeve before our next big “settle”!
you two are so lucky 🙂
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I think we are lucky only in being born in the country we were. Other then that, it’s just damn good decision making! 🙂
OMG, I loved Sicily when I visited as a kid– definitely one of my favorite parts of Italy. Love how a day of travel in a natural setting can soothe away the negative vibes. Great photos!
Bret @ Green Global Travel recently posted..Our Travels From A-Z
Thanks Bret! It’s those moments that can keep us going, that is for sure!
Nothing like a beautiful and fantastic day like this to remind how good travelling can be and how good life is in general. 🙂
So true Cheryl. And even when in the bad times, I know that one of these stellar experiences is just around the corner. We just need to find it!
I love this post. Your life is amazing. You are bound to have days when you are burnt out and need to retreat, just like you had in your old life… what a fantastic adventure your life is. You are LIVING your days.
Kim recently posted..A Winter Visit to Bagby Hot Springs
Thanks Kim! I have to agree, it is pretty swell! 🙂
Feeling burnt out on the road can be so negative. I was ill for most of the time we were in Melbourne. I think it is important to still try and get out there as much as possible though as you will regret not doing so later 🙂
I kind of agree with you – although personally, the reason I get sick is that I am too rundown from not getting enough sleep. If I don’t give myself the time to recover, it will only prolong the misery. I can’t say I’ve ever regretted just slowing down if I need to.
Awesome! I really hope we can help you experience moments like this in NYC 😉
I think NYC is already doing it for me. 🙂