The year I turned sixty, two things happened to me. I got contacts for the first time in my life, and I went to Italy for the second time.
Sixty sounded so old, but I didn’t feel old. I felt offended when the eye doctor wanted to know why I wanted contacts at my age. I told him, “I may be sixty, but I feel like forty.” I wanted to try contacts despite what he thought. The more he tried to discourage me, the more of a challenge it became for me, and I was determined to make the lenses work. Two years later I am very glad I persevered and didn’t give up.
When I went to Italy in the fall of that year, I went with Sue, a friend of mine. We flew to Rome together and after a few days there, we took a twelve-night cruise all around Italy and then spent a few days in Sicily before returning home. The trip was wonderful and was very instrumental in my realizing how independent I actually was.
The ship docked overnight in Livorno and Venice. In both ports, Sue decided to stay on the ship the second day and I went ashore on my own. I never felt alone and truly felt at home as I walked down the streets of Pisa for the first time by myself.
During that outing a woman asked me in Italian for directions to Campo di Miracoli, and I surprised myself when I not only understood her but was actually able to give her directions in Italian. I was pleased with myself and at that moment, I realized that I could come to Italy on my own and manage just fine. That was the beginning of what later developed into the experience of a lifetime for me.
As soon as I got back home, I knew that I wanted to revisit Italy someday. There never seemed to have been enough time, so I longed for the opportunity to go to Italy and stay for an extended period. That thought never left my mind, and I daydreamed about how I could transform my longing into action. What I did know was that one day I would go back, and I would go by myself.
I had not traveled alone before, but the thought did not scare me. I sort of liked the idea of being able to make my own itinerary and plan things the way I wanted. I never dreamed that a year and a half later I would be going to Italy on a solo adventure for three months.
These words are the preface of my first book, Memoirs of a Solo Traveler – My Love Affair with Italy. Based on this blog and my three-month solo travel adventure to Italy, this book was honored with an award in 2014 by the Florida Writers Association.
Since that first solo trip, I have been fortunate enough to travel to Italy over and over, and I appreciate each time as a new and different experience. I never would have expected on that first solo trip that I would end up writing five books about Italy.
What I hope to achieve in my writing is not only to take you on a journey of your own alongside me in Italy, but to inspire you to realize and believe that you can achieve anything you want in life. Age is not a factor. All that matters is having a dream and making that dream a priority. With determination and discipline, you can fulfill your dreams, no matter what anyone may say to try to discourage you.
I feel a responsibility to encourage others, and especially women, to never give up on your dreams. Make it happen. Figure out a plan and stay focused. You will never regret the sense of power you will gain from accomplishing what may seem like the impossible. Go for it!
Check out my other books on Italy here: Books by Margie