I did 1500 steps today. That was over and above my normal morning walk. I thought my morning walk was bad, in that it genuinely flashed through my head that I was going to die as the kids and I clung to an old railing which marked the side of the road whilst lunatics whizzed past us at 6.30am in the morning along the Amalfi Coast Road. Sometimes they were so close I could feel the heat of the cars on my hips. Then I would look over the railing to the fall down the cliff face to realise that possibly walking along the only main road that serviced the Amalfi Coast was possibly the height of my stupidity. I have really done some dumb things in my lifetime so that is truly saying something.
We were walking from Minori to Maiori which was only 15 minutes but I still felt fragile at the end of it and slightly nauseous at the thought that we would have to return. I kept on kicking myself that I had listened to the lovely Italian woman who had told us the previous evening that it was an easy stroll. An easy stroll? It was like being a gladiator and entering into the Colosseum of life and death which is the Amalfi Coast Road. We wandered the Promenade of Maiori, enjoying it, but all the time, glancing up towards the cliff knowing that we had to risk life and limb to return. Suffice to say for all my bullshit, we survived the trip home.
So then I decided that just for fun, we would do the walk from Minori up the hill to the town of Ravello. This had also been a recommendation from the lovely Italian woman who had told me that the walk from Minori to Maiori was an easy stroll. 1300 steps. Easy peasy, pudding and pie. Can I just reiterate that it was not easy. It was not 1300 steps it was 1500. It was up steep rock faces and endless stairs. Every single 1500 step involved a step upwards. We literally walked upwards for 1500 steps. Then we had to come down again which by the way, seemed to be harder and by the time I got to the bottom my legs had turned to jelly and my 9 year old daughter was holding my hand.
When I walk in the morning it is akin to my morning meditation. I rally at the world, especially if it includes Donald Trump in it. I work my way through my faults and frailties. I sort out my insecurities and bullshit. I generally give thanks for the amazing world that I live in that is driven by hope. I do lots of things. Sometimes I just let my mind wander. On the 1500 steps my mind wandered to all sorts of places. It is amazing where the mind can go.
As much as I would like to think I am fit, in that I constantly like to keep moving, those 1500 steps reminded me that I am akin to a bowl of pasta mixed with gelati and bread and that I am nothing. I am not fit. By the end of it I was a quivering mess. As I looked out on the amazing landscape that was ahead of me, below me and above me, it reminded me, that in the general scheme of things, we are truly nothing. If we can leave the world in a better place, that is a good thing, but it continues on without us regardless.
Italy is a country of many countries. As we moved upwards from Minori to Ravello, as we went from one world to another, I thought time and time again of Italy and how it is a country that is full of contrasts. From Rome to Naples to Gallipoli. From Matera to Lecce to Alberobello. From Ascea to Pompeii to Santa Maria de Leuca to Amalfi. In such a small geographical space I had never seen so many contrasting worlds complete with astounding history, cuisines, customs and climate.
My kids are plucky little buggers. They are not perfect and they drive me up the wall sometimes, but there are occasions when I want to wrap my arms around them and smother them with love. I want to whisper in their ears like I did when they were little, “You are strong, you are kind, you are brave and you are important.” This travelling for 12 months is a big deal. The kids have at times struggled. They miss their home, their bedrooms, their dogs, their friends and their school. They miss their dad and the sense of familiar. I am sure at times, that they have no idea why we are living out of a backpack and staying in worlds, that are so far away from home.
When they both looked at me at times today and said to me, “Why Momma? Why are we doing this?” I could only answer, “Why not?” What I did not say to them was, “Because it is beautiful.” “Because it needed to be done.” “Because sometimes I am too scared to stop, in case I can’t start again.” “Because I want you to know the magic of this world, so when you are old enough to make your own decisions, you can still taste the magic.” “Because when you don’t think you can do something, it is precisely the time to do it.”
“Because your mother is full of shite my two little angels, but I just needed to climb this fucking mountain.” I didn’t say any of that. I just said, “Why not?”
We climbed our mountain. We made it to Ravello and had a glimpse of heaven down below. Then we made it back to the bottom in one piece. My legs were shaky and I felt nauseous from looking down but I was so damned proud of myself.
Sometimes I think we should all just ask, “Why not?”