The next morning, I woke up in Villa Velina for the last time this trip. On the way home from dinner, I decided to leave as early as possible and drive up to Fiumicino, drop my luggage at the hotel, return the rental car and take a train into Rome to walk around a bit and have some dinner. I love Rome and so I figured this would take the sting out of leaving Villa D’Amore. It worked! When I awoke, we quickly showered, packed and covered the sparse furnishings in plastic sheeting and began my journey.
On my way as I wind around Mount Vesuvius, I am always dumb struck at the sheer size of it, even as I realize it almost appears as two separate mountains today after the nuclear-in-scope 79 A.D. explosion that froze Pompei in time and kept it covered for centuries. As I gape at it, I imagine the dotted line from the side of each remaining peak, meeting at one central point way, way up in the sky. Wow! That’s an entire mountain, almost larger than what is remaining, that was displaced. And I think of the dark volcanic sand an hour south, on the beaches of Positano, and realize how far some of that ground traveled to find its new home! I take a picture every time, while driving, but my photos are never able to do justice to the sheer size of the remnants of Vesuvius.
I continue up the autostrada, past my favorite trees and on to Fiumicino to drop off luggage and the car.
As I depart from Termini, Rome’s main train station, I am reminded that the Christmas season is upon us. Not that I wouldn’t see decorations in the U.S., considering that this is Thanksgiving weekend, but the Italians don’t have Thanksgiving to mark the official beginning of the Christmas season. Here in Rome, Christmas is in full swing, with beautiful lights strung along the vias and adorning buildings everywhere as I decide where to have dinner.
I settle on a restaurant about a block or two from Termini that doesn’t appear too touristy, and go down a half-flight of stairs to enter. I am not disappointed with my food. I chose a seafood and pasta dish, one of my favorites. I strolled the streets a bit after dinner and then returned by train to my Fiumicino hotel. I always enjoy Rome!
Although I’m staying on the airport property, I arrive in Fiumicino very early. Since all flights to the United States must clear though a special terminal (Terminal 5) before being transported to the main airport gates, you never know how long it will take. Although, I certainly wouldn’t care if I missed a flight . . .
I spent my extra time having a delicious Italian pastry and a morning prosecco! One last real Italian bubbly on “the soil”. I “pretend shop” for jewelry at Bvlgari. Unfortunately, I will have to leave this €16,500 necklace behind!
At last, I board and find ourselves flying high above the Alps.
I couldn’t have predicted what happened next. As I settled in after takeoff and my obligatory Alpine photos were taken, I began to think about what fun I had and how surprising it was to learn that I could survive and actually thrive and enjoy my life in only 450 square feet of living space! I loved the views and location of Villa D’Amore from the start, but was a bit concerned about the size of the space. But what I learned was that it lived so LARGE! From the gigantic views to the spacious rooms, I felt freed from the trappings of society. From my 85-wine-glass collection back home to the many other belongings I had accumulated over the years, I learned it felt great living without such a heavy load on my back – and this was the biggest surprise of the whole trip! In Villa D’Amore, I had only what I needed – a spectacular view of the world around me, the bare necessities and a beautiful, although small, abode – but that made me feel happier.
This thinking led to a major revelation for me. While still high over the Atlantic, I thought “I’ll call Mary Pat and talk with her about putting that big house of mine on the market and find something more manageable to live in”. I was a bit shocked by this thought. I loved my home and although it was much bigger than I needed, I loved throwing huge parties in it. I also loved playing “weekend bed and breakfast”, but my “bookings” had been dwindling. As the grandchildren got older, there were weekend activities that prevented them from traveling and I found myself going to them instead.
Really, my surprise revelation, made a lot of sense. Italy had totally changed my view of the future. I no longer planned to just hang out where I had been and continue my current live as I flowed into my retirement years, wondering what to do to entertain myself for the next phase of my life. Now, there was Italy . . . a true game-changer. Now, I was busy learning Italian, immersing myself in a new culture and friends and new horizons to explore. I saw myself taking the parties and my friends and family to Italy. Why not position myself to fully enjoy my new future?
P.S. My home was listed 28 days later and sold in 6 days . . .