Giuliana did not stop smiling the entire 7 hours I was with her.
She was older than me, but had a bright, young spirit.
We are both solo female travelers so we had a bit in common, but I met her in her hometown.
We exchanged laughs, travel stories, tips, information, and deeply listened to each other’s travel stories while vicariously living through the words.
Many times she pause… to reflect on the story she was telling me… with a sense of melancholy.
But I get it… there are times I leave a city or leave a place and I am so damn sad. A good sad… But when you spend time in a place that gives you great experiences, great times, great stories… You have a sense of sadness. A good sadness. It’s something you feel in your heart and something you cannot quite put into words.
Giuliana is Italian so her affection is not hidden in any sense. Immediately embracing me, holding my hand, putting her hands to my cheeks like she was looking at me like a younger version of herself. I met Giuliana because I wanted to make some homemade pasta! I think one of the best things the internet has given us is AIRBNB EXPERIENCES. Seriously, there are some passionate people on this website simply doing what they love and inviting, and welcoming, others into their space to experience their craft, their love, and their passions.
Over dinner, Giuliana and I talked about about her most recent travels.
It was one of her biggest adventures… literally and figuratively. So big that she was had to get a nice amount of vaccinations but also pushed her limits, staying in places that would require her to be completely out of her comfort zone… and definitely out of mine or yours. No wifi, no lights. Completely remote… the trip was dedicated to simply living.
After the experience was over, Giuliana, like the angel she is, drove me back home because there were no more buses running. Before getting into the car, I thought about the incredible, authentic, raw, once in a life time experience I had with her, her mother, and the four other people who participated in this day. The whole day focused on real food, real people, and real interactions. Real laughter, real manual work, real desire.
Not to mention I picked FRESH chicken eggs from the coop for the pasta, I picked the spices from the gardens, I drank the homemade wine, and completely submerged myself in this experience. The home was nothing like I’ve ever seen. If you are thinking about going to Siena, you have to stop thinking and you must just go.
On the drive home Giuliana’s mood seemed to switch a bit.
Prior to getting in the car, over dinner she told us guests about her Fibromyalgia (long-term condition that causes pain all over the body… Basically the deterioration of your muscles and the fibers in your nervous system for reasons that are unknown.)
In the car she told me that she had been crying all morning and now she is exhausted. She told me about how she doesn’t recognize herself in the morning because she wakes up angry… “like a devil,” she said, because of the pain. At one time, she would leap out of bed in the morning, happy… she now wakes up in misery.
She told me after her last trip, she came back home and 3 months later she was in chronic pain, every day. 5 months later, after tests, and tests, and tests, she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.
She told me about how one time she was a traveler. And then something bad happened in her life that made her so anxious all the time that she did not travel anymore. She went to groups and classes and finally found the freedom to fly again.
Specifically she told me about the time she was walking on the beach in Senegal listening to a Coldplay song along the water and feeling released and free of anything, or anyone, holding her back.
“I felt freedom… I was free. I was able to travel again.”
From that point Giuliana never took traveling for granted again and spent the next five years of her life working and traveling.
Until, like mentioned above, she developed Fibromyalgia after her last trip.
She told me how this morning she woke up to go on a walk and the first song that came on her phone was the same Coldplay song that she listened to on the beach in Senegal.
“How unfair is it now that I am not free again? I finally was free again and then… not anymore. I cannot stand for too long. I cannot sit in the same position. It feels like there are a million rats biting the me from the inside. I used to do yoga… I used to do handstands… I was always fit. I never complained and I was always going out and being fun. Now I have lost so many friends, I have gained weight, I cannot do yoga. So many doors have shut. I am so full of love inside and now… I feel like I have no where to put it, no where to share it, no where to go…”
I listened to Giuliana. Of course I could never completely understand her pain… but I felt so much empathy for you.
You are reading this blog post because you like the messages I convey. You know almost every damn day I tell you, at the bare fucking minimum, to be so grateful to have your BODY.
I urge you to be active and live a healthy, happy lifestyle because without our health, we will never have anything more.
I started to tell Giuliana about my appreciation for my body and how I always think about without my legs, without my feet, without my eyes… I wouldn’t be able to do anything. Nothing. Niente.
I started to tell her:
“This morning I woke up and went on a run through the hills of Siena…”
“OH!” She began to cry….
I could tell she wished she could run through the hills of Siena like I’m sure she did for years prior.
In less than 5 months Giuliana’s completely changed. She told me she is still in complete denial. She doesn’t know how to live this life. For over 45 years she was a different person. Who is she now?
She had to quit her job that she was at for 18 years. She no longer travels.
I wish I could give some of my “life” to Giuliana. If you want to know a little bit about what goes on in my mind: I constantly think about when I will grow older and I won’t be able to be as active as I am now. I love my body so much. I am so grateful for it. Grateful for this life… grateful to be able to spend hours and hours and hours walking around completely aimlessly.
My aimless walking… my aimless travels… have brought me some of the most incredible experiences here in Italy. I have stumbled upon people who have made important impressions in my heart, I have stumbled upon the most perfect little shops, and I have eaten some great food. All of which I can attribute to simply having a working body.
I always think about how I could fucking die tomorrow. I think about how life is just too damn short to live your life chasing money and worrying about money or worrying about people who make you feel ANYTHING BUT HAPPY.
Seriously, think about this “person” for a bit. How do they make you feel? Good.. good. Keep them. Do they make you feel discouraged about your passions, do they make you feel unsupported, overwhelmed, unwelcomed? UMMMMMM NEXT!!!!! Bye!!! There’s so many fucking people in the world you do not need ANYONE who makes you feel LESS THAN.
I wanted to write about Giuliana because my time with her was something incredibly special. Her spirit could shine light on all the hills of Tuscany. Her story resonates with me and my heart was bleeding for her when she was confessing her words, emotions, and feelings to me.
This is why I tell you guys to, at the bare minimum, be grateful for your body. This is why I tell you to practice a happy, active lifestyle. This is why I will spend hours writing and talking photos and curating a blog or instagram post to share with the world while neglecting other things that might make me some “real” money. THIS is what is important. THIS is real.
I simply want to advocate to take a moment EVERY SINGLE DAY to appreciate life… to appreciate your body, your brain, your eyes, your feet, your hands, your voice, your fingers, your heart… And then, do your best to let your body know you love it and appreciate it by treating it right. Take a walk… use food as fuel… and LOVE it. Your body and your mind are connected… If you brain releases love chemicals… your body will feel it. And your body will love you back. And then, you will live a life of love… and what more can we really ask for?
If you would like to book this Airbnb experience, please send me a message. You will have the best time in Siena with this experience. You will meet amazing people and you will eat AMAZING food. You will truly “live” and take life slow and relaxed… I cannot recommend this enough.
Continue to scroll for some photos of the experience: