Most of our trips to Italy employ an artist who helps make the entire cultural experience deeper, richer, more meaningful. Our artists are seriouly talented. In May, for the second time, Pam Goode led a mosaic workshop. What we didn’t know was that she is a poet as well. During the course of the week Pam wrote a poem about the impact of travel and of Orvieto on her. She read the poem at our closing, and it is beautiful. She posted the poem with pictures on her blog and I have copied it in to this blog below.
Pam has captured so many of the elements of a trip to Orvieto with us which make it a powerful, soothing, inspired, spiritual experience. Her words bring to mind the generous, soulful, impassioned people with whom we are priveleged to work.you Pam!
Creating a Life: Inspiration from Orvieto
by Pamela Goode
There are those who ask me why I love to travel. In a few words: the exploration, the reversion to a simple and spare life, the crisp solitude of being alone in a new culture and unfamiliar language. Quite simply, stripped of my accustomed ways of being, I open my eyes and see. I remember who I am (and who I am not) and redefine the ways I want to experience my finite number of years. Travel sets me free to choose anew and gives me focus.
Below are a few things I’ve learned about myself during a cultural immersion week in Orvieto, Italy, and a handful of images to remind me when I’m tempted to give in to big city ways and forget.
I Want to Live a Life
I want to live a life on the edge — a life between consciousness and culture, between solitude and community, with easy access to the gifts of both.
I want to live a life where city walls both shield and embrace, but also beckon me past my accustomed boundaries.
I want to live a life engulfed in scents and tastes and textures, with visual surprise around every corner, be it a new village or a just-unfurling jasmine bud.
I want to live a life where the strong and stalwart and majestic serve as constants for the fragile, a land where the porosity and lightness of stone do nothing to diminish its fortitude.
I want to live a life where both the dead and the living are honored, and joyously — a life where Etruscan tombs from 400 BC sit beneath the waving of wild cherries, and a waiter from lunch three days ago will wave you down in the lane for a smile.
A life where it’s okay to say hello to anyone you pass, to acknowledge life wherever it exists, including your own.
I want to live a life on many levels, from the surety and abundant offerings of ground and field to the communal path, the surprise and joy of rooftop gardens, the soaring art on soaring cathedrals to cotton ball skies and Jupiter shining above the lane after dinner in Charlie’s gardens.
I want to live a life where children in gingham smocks gather magnolia leaf bouquets and squeal with delight, where song is a part of ever day’s curriculum, where physical safety is a given.
I want to live a life as many-layered as this cypress, this town, these rooftops.
I want to live a life with as much community as these vibrant streets and as much peace as these convent gardens.
I want to live a life as broad as this vista, completely unbounded by my psyche and conventions, my habits and my fears. I want a life with such clarity and vision that all of my options are recognizable.
I want to live a life where unexpected joy exists stunningly, and sometimes consists only of a gathering of simple greenery. Where the breezes dance, where the air is cool and clear and food holds the tastes of sunshine, rain, and origin.
People ask me why I travel. I travel to pull myself out of daily habits and rituals that keep me from growth. I travel to empty and refill my soul, to recapture moments that makes my heart beat faster.
So Go. See. Assimilate. Love It Up and let it make you better. And do whatever it takes to sear those images and awakenings onto your heart for the days ahead. Take photos. If there’s one thing I’ve learned taking 57 million photos of life, it’s this: turn around. From every position, there are at least two views, and they will constantly surprise you.
Kristi and Bill Steiner began leading “learning vacations” to Orvieto, Italy in 2003. Through Adventures in Italy they provide a cultural immersion experience. Many trips include the pursuit of some kind of creative work that complements and reinforces exploration of Italy’s culture. Relationships built over the years enable Kristi and Bill to provide experiences that a typical visitor to Orvieto never gets.
Learn more about Kristi and Bill’s trips. Stay abreast of Adventures in Italy developments, and follow Bill’s musings about travel and Italy on his blog Make Haste Slowly. View Bill’s photos of Italy, Orvieto, and other memorable places at steinerstudiophotos.com, and follow him on Instagram.
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.