Scussi, babada boobie, bebada boobada bobida!
Traveling alone to a small town in Italy with very little English speaking locals has proved to be more difficult than I anticipated. Even with my two months of Italian training I have been somewhat socially isolated. Even the Peter Griffin mustache method proved to not work as well as anticipated. Sure I can chat up the tourists but that’s not what I am here for.
I am here to live the Italian culture. I realized today that I put myself in a very precarious situation. Unless I become conversationally fluent and adapt, I will not achieve my desired goal of immersion. It is super painful to be a very social person without the ability to properly communicate.
Not to mention I accidentally ordered Prosciutto Fresco (raw prosciutto) and proceeded to eat it and also called a woman “handsome.” She was NOT amused.
After my family left from coming to visit I felt a little down and isolated again. Luckily I have a few great people I have met that are very supportive in helping me learn and adapt. Enter my new pal Paolo…
I was invited to this small secret Italian beach just south of Sorrento. I rode on the back of a small Italian scooter going way too fast, weaving in and out of traffic. (There are literally NO RULES on Italian roads).
We pulled up into what was one of the most beautiful olive grove I had ever seen. We parked the bike and proceeded down a steep cliff to a rocky, cliff like beach. There I was met with open arms and some choppy English. They wanted to learn everything about me.
We sat on the rocky beach and they quizzed me in Italian and taught me local slang sayings that would help me communicate. I even taught them some English sayings they loved such as “don’t bring sand to the beach.” They even invited me to go watch the Italy vs England world cup match, which will be huge!
In the same day I also connected with my 6 year old neighbor Christian who has been very interested in seeing what I am doing. He speaks no English what so ever. I saw him crying because his bike chain fell off.
I fixed it for him and we became instant friends. Now he teaches me Italian words all day long. He is my new piccolo amico (little friend).
I felt down this because I was in the company of people I was comfortable with (my family) and they left. My fight or flight instincts kicked in and I had to look at myself in the mirror and realize that this was NOT going to be easy BUT that it would be worth it.
I was feeling a little lost and now I am feeling great knowing I had made a huge leap. I cannot run away from the fear of my demise. Social isolation is my worst enemy and I have put myself in a position where I can easy run or hide, but I have to chose not too.
Traveling alone is one of the most difficult things I have ever done but I had a feeling inside that it would be a great challenge for me. Its scary to get out of our comfort zones and the older we get the more set in our ways we become.
If you are feeling like you are a little bored with life, perhaps its time to get out of your comfort zone and take a trip alone. The strangers you meet and the experiences you have along the way have the potential to build you up like you couldn’t possibly imagine.
Challenge yourself and get outside of your comfort zone. Take a trip, learn a new language, see a new culture. It will make you appreciate what you have and will give you a new sense of gratitude. Its the life changing jolt I needed and perhaps, you may need it too. Give it a go and tell me how it goes! Ciao!