When I was 6 years old, I ran away from home. I decided that the pressures of my impending 1st grade year were going to just be too much on top of being a big sister, and really I just had had enough of the tyrannical rule of my parents. No, I will not eat my peas, and I’ll show you who’s running the show around here, Mom– if that’s even your real name.
I decided that I wasn’t going to be rash about this process, so I began to pack the essentials and prepare for life on the road:
- Copies of Eloise, Madeline, and Rosie Runs Away… check
- Extra wind shorts, tie dye t-shirt, and scrunchie… check
- A handful of change from the laundry room coin jar… check
A box of Saltine crackers… A sleeve of Saltine crackers… after much debate with my mother who told me I couldn’t leave her house with her food, I managed to finally convince her that my blood would be on her hands if she left me alone to my personal skills to acquire food, so we settled on one sleeve and a few packets of mustard… check
When I was 6 years old, I was infinitely more prepared to run away from home than I am now at 31 when I have run away to Italy. My friend Nicole offered me a place to stay with her for two weeks, and without putting much though into it, I booked a ticket and 8 days later hopped on a flight.
- Preparing international phone plan… oops
- Researching basic Italian phrases… oops
- Deciding where in Italy I wanted to visit… oops
- Packing a bag large enough to fit everything I wanted to bring… oops
- Arranging transportation to and from the airport… oops
- Remembering to tell my mom I was leaving the country… oops
- Getting the address of where I would be staying in Lucca… oops
- Sexy black dress, new lacy bra and panty set, and heels for our weekend to Rome… check. Priorities, y’all.
So here I am now, after 36 hours of travel that included three hours of shameless crying while reading Love, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton on my first flight, two crying fits in the Madrid airport that were mostly due to exhaustion but also because I couldn’t stop seeing Romeo everywhere, and one missed bus stop that resulted in a full evening of repeatedly traversing a busy road with two weeks worth of luggage by myself while trying to find WiFi so I could connect with Nicole and get directions to her place. All of which are full stories unto themselves but will have to wait until another time.
Italy has always been at the very top of my Travel Bucket List and for the last 2.5ish years, Romeo had deposited money in a “Travel Fund” as my birthday/ Christmas/ anniversary/ Valentines present and would put money in there with the promise that as soon as we had enough, he would take me to Europe for my very first time. When we broke up and Nicole extended this incredibly generous offer, it felt like God placing a first step for healing in my hands and reminding me that our lives don’t stop when we are heartbroken; our lives usually begin in these moments if we let them.
Plus if it was good enough for Elizabeth Gilbert, it’s for sure good enough for me.
And I’m not going to lie. There was a little bit of a “I’ll be damned if I wait one more day for a man to follow through on a promise for anything and I’m taking my happy ass to do exactly what I want to do. Men? We don’t need no stinkin’ men.”
But then Nicole told me about Fabio, the painfully sexy man who works at the meat market downstairs from her loft and speaks just enough English to say things like “you’re too beautiful for a heart that is broke” and “here is more wine, my love” and “this dress make me crazy.”
You can’t make this stuff up.
I’ve still got my broken heart chastity belt on, but maybe the bra burning man hating side of me that was simmering below the surface can give it a rest now. After all, it’s a new bra with matching panties and that would be just an absolute waste.
Ciao for now.