I'm gonna hit fast-forward for a second here.
This post should *technically* be about my next couple days in Florence. I tend to be a chronological order kinda girl. But today, I woke up thinking about Sorrento.
And so that's where we're gonna go.
I don't want to write about my entire stay in Sorrento--though it was amazing, and I'll get there eventually. I want to focus on one moment in particular.
By the time I reached Sorrento, I'd been on my own for nearly two weeks. I'd traveled to two different countries. I'd made new friends, tried new food, experienced new things.
And I'd been scared the entire time.
Last year, I'd begun living my life by a new motto: Feel the fear and do it anyway. And that's exactly what I'd been doing this whole trip. I'd spent the last two weeks terrified, nervous, unsure. But I woke up each morning and attacked the day in spite of those things coursing through me. But in Sorrento...
I arrived mid-afternoon, with plenty of daylight to find my hotel. Mapquest did not like Sorrento. There were stairs and winding paths that confused it. And, so, I got a little lost looking for my hotel. Once I found it, I was sweaty, exhausted, and all nerved up. This was the worst part of travel for me--switching between locations. I'd spent five days in Florence before this, and I was anxious about the new place. In fact, if I didn't have my heart set on Pompeii, I might have skipped Sorrento altogether.
And that would've been a mistake.
Once I got to my hotel, the beautiful man at the front desk gave me my room key, a map, and a couple pamphlets. He'd circled a few restaurants, and told me that the marina was not far from there. I tucked that piece of information away and went up to my room. I collapsed on my bed, welcoming the cool air and comfort of my own space. I could've stayed there the rest of the night, but the word marina kept bouncing around in my brain. I'd caught a glimpse of the Mediterranian Sea through the train window, and I couldn't wait to see it up close. So I forced myself to get off the bed, put my shoes back on, and head out the door.
The walk lasted about ten minutes and took me down a twisty road and through a long tunnel.
I emerged from between a cluster of tall, brightly-painted buildings to find it there, sprawled out before me. Majestic, overwhelming, beautiful.
I walked along the street to a dead-end that dropped off a few feet, right into the thrashing, wild water.
I video-called my mom so I could share this absurd beauty with her, and then I hung up and walked down the dock. On one side, boats lay beneath tarps. A few fisherman were calling it a night, unloading onto the dock. A little boy ran on wobbly legs to his father. An older couple wandered to the edge of the dead-end street.
I stood there, breathing in the salty air, listening to the waves crash. And my heart stilled
A few minutes later, my stomach interrupted my reverie. I hadn't eaten since Florence, and I was starving.
Just ahead, a couple restaurants lined the street. I chose the one with the best view and requested a table overlooking the Mediterranean. There, I ordered the freshest fish I'd ever eaten, washed down with delicious wine and a decadent lemon dessert.
While I waited for my food to arrive, I pulled out my journal, and I wrote. And that was when it hit me: Sitting there, my first meal alone at a restaurant (I'd eaten with friends or on-the-go the rest of my trip), the sea-kissed air whipping my hair into my face...this was it.
This was the moment I'd been searching for my entire trip.
It was in that single moment that I felt it: the bravery everyone had been telling me I possessed from the moment I'd booked my trip.
Now, back home and surrounded by real life, I cling to that moment. When I set the deadline to release my book. When I hit "publish." When my sweet old dog died. When I sat beside accomplished and talented authors and talked about my own writing. Every single time I tell someone I'm an author--and not a *writer*--I feel it: the waves roaring in my ears, the buzz of wine in my bloodstream, the taste of freedom, sweet on my tongue.
I hold that moment tight to my chest every time self-doubt, fear, uncertainty starts to creep in. I can do it. I've done it before.
And I'll do it again.