This is a story from the archives, way back to the end of September ‘16 when four Americans (Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, Arkansas) danced with mimosa’s and brick-oven pizzas through Northern Italy for a week.
Ahh, September seems like ages ago.
This moment of my life was recently recollected during a chat I had with a German over hitchhiking experiences. Nostalgia grew wings and burrowed itself back into my mind, twisting and manipulating the lessons I learned from the original experience and putting a slight twist on them in order to suit any present needs. Any present needs for an explanation of life.
Fate is a funny animal.
Every time a recollection of something momentous is hurtled full force against the thought processing zones of my brain, the net result and the remembered lessons that comes from it don’t entirely match the original experience.
In this way are we able to learn from ourselves, from our own histories.
Fate is a powerful animal.
September 29th, 2016.
Three friends and I had made it to Salò, a village nestled in the Province of Brescia, Italy, overlooking the breathtaking Lake Garda. We had booked an Airbnb–an entire apartment to ourselves for three days overlooking the Lake and the anticipated sunrises–without realizing that the 4km distance from the bus stop was almost directly up a mountain.
With determinantely positive distaste, we became friendly with the taxi man into whose cab meter we watched our dinner euros trickle as he transported us up this literal mountain, symbolic of unmatched expectation.
September 30th, 2016.
The day presented itself to us; a big Saturday with nothing but Adventure stamped on its otherwise empty pages. We woke to a Brescian sunrise, blood red rays ripping through Lake Garda, passing through the forests of olive trees and grapes on its way to our peak of the mountain.
Full of spirit (which looks like coffee and a breakfast of peanut butter and muesli), we ambitiously decided to oscillate ourselves down this mountain back into town in search of a hiking trail, taxis be damned!
15 minutes or so into our journey, we started batting around the idea of trying to hitch a ride to the bottom of the hill; not out of necessity but of curiosity. A few cars had passed us putting up the mountain, and not a single car had passed us going down. We were four girls on this quiet, village-like road.
These, my friends, are not the greatest circumstances in which to hitchhike.
Nevertheless spirits were high. With the confidence that only comes from raw ignorance, we shot out our thumbs.
I kid you not, four minutes later the most beautiful Italian man I have ever seen–actually, one might be able to drop that Italian adjective there–pulls to the side of the road in his 4-door Jeep, freshly marked with adventure.
It’s like the only car to pass us the entire time, and it happens to be this beautiful human in the perfect-sized jeep.
With a bout of broken English and even-more-broken Italian, he deposited us at the city center, where we promptly ran into a huge Saturday morning Salò outdoor market.
Fast forward 9 hours, 10+ miles of hiking later:
So. Tired. Hills. Mountains. Shall we try our luck again, pals?
We stick out our thumbs with the same confidence, this time with more expectation as the road we were meandering back on was relatively populated with Italian countrysiders jaunting back into town for dinner.
2. Hours. Later.
Nothing, not a single car stopped.
This is entirely typical. It’s usually this way, especially with four people sporting fresh hiking-sweat and slight animalistic hungered looks. It wasn’t frustrating, we stuck out our thumbs both times with curiosity and hope only.
So what was this lesson?
I can’t recall what I got out of this experience when it actually happened, or what I thought about it on the bus ride home, only that now it means this:
Sometimes life is going to help you when you don’t need it.
We didn’t have that great of need to hitch a ride when we did. But it happened, and it helped.
At the same time, sometimes life is not going to let you off the hook.
It would have been much more appreciate to hitch a ride after we had been walking up and down mountains all day, ferociously hungry and a bit ragged.
All too often we let the second lesson stick in our minds.
We think to ourselves, Life has never let me off the hook, I never get a break.
But the first lesson is there, too. Instead of undervaluing its presence, try and make the most out of it.
Fate is a funny, powerful animal.
Peace & Blessings,