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Travelling alone in Sicily

· Iris

Having been married for almost 6 years, I've grown used to travelling with Joey. As a guy, he likes to make sure that he has the situation under control during our travels, which means that almost always he'll be the one planning our routes and navigating our way. Even if I plan or navigate, he'd always double check again, so gradually I've learned to just give in and follow his lead. The same can probably be said about me taking control of our extracurricular activities - e.g. dining out, going to the theatre..etc. I guess it happens in long-term relationships; you compromise and make space for the other person's habits and preferences.

 

This was the main reason I wanted to come to Sicily alone for a month. I knew I had more in me and I wanted to rediscover my strengths. Although I lived away from home from the age of 13, I've always managed to find people I could cling onto - be it a group of friends or a boyfriend. Underneath the visage of a completely independent teenager, there was actually quite a lot of anxiety and sadness. I wanted to come to Sicily alone to explore my independence as an adult.

In this one month, I managed to:

  • live in a caravan with no internet and didn't feel lonely for more than 5 seconds (because saying that I didn't feel lonely for a single second would be a lie. Of course I missed Joey for that little bit)
  • master the infamous Sicilian bus network and visited 4 other different cities (Ragusa, Modica, Catania and Siracusa)
  • stay calm at all times no matter the situation: on the second day I took a walk into town but took the wrong road and ended up 30 minutes in in the middle of nowhere. There was nothing around apart from unattended greenhouses. It was also approaching sunset. I made the call to turn back and got back just before it got dark
  • navigate my way around by asking strangers in broken italian. I didn't hesitate at all. There was none of that 'should I really ask him?' dawdling moments that I used to have. I just did it
  • join a tour and met other travelers. For the first time in a long while, I felt like I was completely, totally representing myself - not my job, not Joey, not my background...it was simply just me as I am. It's hard to describe but I think it comes from within. Perhaps I'm ready to turn 30 soon

And what have I discovered?

  • that I am a strong individual and I am ready to be a partner in our marriage. It sounds really silly, but marrying as young as we did, I didn't really think about what marriage or being a wife means to me
  • travelling solo is incredibly freeing and allows me to find out who I am at this point in time. After all, we are constantly changing, growing, so I think doing a solo-trip every so often might be a good idea!
  • relationships and families are beautiful. Often we really do forget how precious they are when we are in it
  • even in the most idyllic setting, people can be stressy. It's all about the mindset. If you can't make allowances for other people and things and you don't realise it, you will carry that stressful energy wherever you go, wherever you live
  • take pride in whatever you do, don't wait for others' praises! Most of the time, people just don't notice good work or people who're not in your situation probably think what you've done is 'industry standard'. Well, they just don't know. I've found that in hospitality, the things that make a difference are little details here and there. You spend so much effort to make sure things are perfect, but of course, guests think that's just the norm
  • equally, be kind to others and appreciate what you receive. Nobody was born to serve you! If you're a guest staying at a hotel, instead of nitpicking, try to see the efforts people put in for you. Don't be a capitalist, be human
  • and finally...don't let options kill your chances. Sometimes I think having too many choices can become a burden - you become so worried about making the right choice without disappointing others. Lesson I've learned is be grateful that I've had the good fortune of choices, but once a choice is made, never look back longingly at the other options
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