Tag Archives: Adventure

The Simplicity Of Tuscany.

It all begins when the shutters are opened and the morning arrives into the room. Waking with the sweet luxury of not knowing or needing to know the time. There was a hint it was later than it felt but only if you looked. Sun visible through edges of the window frames. Each day here in Tuscany I’m reminded of  a certain way of living, of choosing a life of simplicity. Of where I can cut back further.

Breakfast.

Lunch.

Dinner.

Three meals. Fresh salad. Vegetables picked from a jar. Meat finely sliced. Mostly local. Perhaps not the avocado. All three with the same condiments. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Italian), Balsamic Vinegar (Modena, from the closest province) pepper and salt.

I ask you this question … if you could choose two condiments other than salt and pepper what would they be? For me these two are it. The excess on the plate is soaked with local day old bread. Hard because preservatives are not added.

An afternoon aperitivo to relax into the time between when the day is finished and the evening starts. Another day of writing. A chapter added. Twenty eight to go. I can do it though. I showed myself. Today is the 30th day of blog writing, little letters in your inbox.

Not all days are smooth there was a double wasp sting last night. Me. Painful, I share this with you. Painful. Glad for ice treats in the freezer to numb the bites. Watch where you sit in Tuscany I warn you. All resolved now, just the mozzie bites still itch.

Once I publish this post the evening will begin. The time to tidy, organise, sit, chat and eat. It’s a bbq tonight. The music will play and the joking about when mum sat on a wasp, screamed and ripped her clothes off will begin!

I am glad for simple things. For a live of simplicity.  For having the courage to let go of the guilt I used to feel when I used my time to write. It’s a beautiful hobby and it is this hobby that brought this dream of simplicity to us.

#writingstreak

#day30of31

#choosesimplicity

#itallstartedthere

 

 

 

From My Tuscan Desk.

A butterfly continues to fly by trying to land on me. The cicadas are putting on a symphony, the children are squealing with delight and I think I found myself in the perfect setting. The setting for a little plan I’ve had brewing for some time. Ha ha no not to move here, I’ve changed. I promise. I no longer want to live everywhere but I do want to try a new thing for myself. Nothing new there! Lol. But a hard thing, something that requires some dedication. Tuscany friends, if a dream can’t be birthed here I’m not sure it ever can!

It was a rather clever idea of the husband’s to drive the bulk of the drive yesterday. We had an early start this morning and arrived into the local village of Bibbiena around 10.30am. Enough time to pick up some bread and supplies. Oh my the fruit! The fruit. So much colour and so much fresh choice. We drove in past the fields so it doesn’t surprise me of course. Lush verdant fields with rows and rows of produce. Not that the boys noticed from their lounge room in the backseat. New road trip food tip – breakfast banana in a wrap.

 

Our villa is everything we expected. A lush vista over the valley, fresh warm air, stunning sun, colour and solitude. Apart from the children and the cicadas of course. Spaces everywhere, for everyone. Yes, this is the bolthole we knew we needed but waited for a few weeks to decide on! It’s lush and also it’s characteristically rustic inside (read: old and charming). But you don’t get something this big and affordable without compromise. After half a day I totally get the dark, brick Tuscan cave! It works in this heat. The outside though, wow, with the little beautiful touches.

It’s not a tour the country kind of holiday. It’s time away, get some vitamin D, playtime for the children, yummy food, time for family, time to ‘be’ and laughs. Always the laughs. At Jimmy mostly. And Tommy he is a bit of a funny cat when he shows his humorous side. Greggie is working this week. He has settled nicely into a corner of the house with the big old desk. Best line today, Greggie “but how good is the prosciutto” lol. “Dude, it’s Italy !?!” Eye roll ūüôĄ.

Me I’m out on the terrace. I’m also sort of working. I’m writing. Yes, yes I am. It’s a bit of a story as to how this has all come together. None of this planned at the start of the month. And yet here I am. With an evolving plan falling into place. It’s nice to be away, not to be in need of the break but in need of space and this moment of opportunity. A moment built on the momentum of these past months. A luxury. A time for each of us be in our own rhythms.

#writingstreak

#day28/31

#underthetuscansun

#amwriting

 

 

 

Crossing Borders. Eating Pretzels. Wearing Masks And Chats With Mates.

We crossed three borders today. Starting from home in The Netherlands into Germany, through to Switzerland and on and into Italy. We ate pretzels, wore our masks for toilet breaks (first time for little ones, it was fine they get it). I had some really awesome what’s ap. and Insta private chats (each one significant for reasons that are unfolding, will come back to these in future writing). Flow though friends, always trust the flow, act on the gut instinct to talk.

Not once did we show our passports or face border control. I love the European Union Schengen zone. We did have to buy our 40 Swiss franc road sticker (this allows us to use the roads  for a year rather than tolls). The tolls start on the Italian roads (not as exy as French roads).

We drove past lakes and streams and towards mountains. Oh my heart danced when we arrived in the Alps. We crossed them via tunnels. Aaaah it’s a beautiful way to travel. As is hiking in or taking trains in Europe! Italy was our destination so we enjoyed the scenic route in. It felt like one freeway down.

And there was the oddness of the Corona. Naturally. It’s in our current lives. We stopped only for petrol and toilets. Masked up, gloves for petrol and hand sanitiser. Maybe over the top but this is a highly contagious virus and we don’t want to get sick. In Germany masks are compulsory. Switzerland not, but many wore masks.

We pack food, lots of food. *BIG TRAVEL TIP* We travel with a car fridge. Also had robes at our ‘motel’-¬† honeymoon style, the boys were beside themselves (future Christmas present idea maybe). Wraps are our go to for a road trip. We had enough for our roadside motel dinner too, so no need to go and find dinner anywhere. We also pack cherry tomatoes, mini cucumbers, apples, bananas, popcorn, chippies, biscuits and¬† sweeties. Drink bottles for each of us.

We pre-booked the motel so we knew how far we had to come, we¬† wanted to cross ALL the borders today. I’ve been watching Europe. I am sure we’re good here, no surprises I can predict. But who knows with the pandemic, things change. It’s the risk we take travelling. I wouldn’t be travelling the other way through Belgium, France and Spain right now (daily changes there).

Husband, legend who did all the driving. Mostly because he hates being a passenger is working from ‘home’ this week. We will leave early tomorrow and arrive before lunch when his first zoom meeting is scheduled. Is this not something interesting?! Changing up the home office to a Tuscan farmhouse villa for a week before taking a week off! Heck we could even stay on in Italy and he could work another week before we have to come back for school.

#writingstreak

#day27/31

#fromaroadsidemotel

#hopeyouareallwell

 

 

 

Mopping Myself Out The Door Towards Tuscany.

The roof suitcase is on! The boot is packed. The racks are ready for the bikes (mine and his). The car fridge is locked and loaded. Food is prepped and ready for a whole day’s drive. And the floor is freshly mopped. Tell me it’s not just me?! I almost need to audit the house before leaving to go away. Last minute jobs – check. All clothes washed, fridge cleaned and floors mopped. Thankfully we’re heading south because look at that weather would you. Dutch grey skies.

I am a tad excited. And now quite pleased after working through the last of the jobs tonight. Obvs it’s not our first rodeo, but man after having a house full of people since Feb the need to deep clean and declutter is building. You know shoe sorting, hand me down clothes sorting, school work shifting, under the couch cleaning, stains from gross kids wiping, parcels to send, letters to write.¬† When I get back all refreshed and ready to go I’ll attack that stuff.

Seriously though it’s been a long time since I’ve had the house to myself. Usually after the kids go to school I burn some incense, play some music, daydream a little. I realise I haven’t done my little things in months, months! All fine of course it is what it is and I’ve found new things to keep me grounded. Fingers crossed we are not thrust back into home school after summer.

Back to the house auditing before leaving to go away. Are you a mad scrubber? Do you need to come home to a clean house? It’s my thing. Also we live in a 1930’s house that needs a bit of fixing. It’s a work in progress. And we’ve had problems with house mice before so I don’t want to encourage them AT all. And basically it’s kind a hard to make a really old house with lots of gaps and four kids feel very clean for long. Mostly I’m cool with that but not the night before we go away. I’m a mad-ass scrubber.

As I tidied my garden today (yeah I had to sort that out too) I looked at the apples so ripe and nearly ready, I realised I’ll be excited to get back also. It is a lovely thing to love being home. To build a home. A nest. The apples will need to be preserved and hopefully the tomatoes will also be going gangbusters. Won’t that be a lovely surprise. ‘Tis the night before an adventure and we’re ready.

Did I mention I’m a bit excited? I really am. It is like I am twenty something and putting my backpack on to see something new in the world. Nope, none of us will ever, ever take the freedom to roam for granted again (not that I did just that it’s even more amazing now after the crazy year). Tomorrow night we’ll catch up from the outskirts of Milan, we want to cross all the borders in a day (let’s face it weird times with borders) and arrive under the Italian blue skies.

#writingstreak

#day26/31

#thenightbeforeanadventure

 

 

Under The Tuscan Sun.

‘Life Offers You A Thousand Chances. All You Have To Do Is Take One.’ – Under The Tuscan Sun.

I have a little longing for the is’ness of a place that is just a Sydney to Melbourne drive away. I promised her I’d return when it was safe to support her people. With three weeks of school holidays left and weeks of rain forecast we made plan C today, or is it plan Z! We’re going to take a trip South and into one of my favourite member states. I finally committed. It finally felt right.

I’ve been so unsure about how to travel or if we should travel in these surreal summer times. So we sat it out, cancelled all the plans (as many of us have) and decided to wait it out and see. It was the right thing to do and I have no regrets. I didn’t want to contribute to the movement of people at a time when perhaps we shouldn’t move. I needed to wait, to ‘be’ where I was. If we did travel I wanted it to be safely, gently, sustainably and as always slowly.¬†

Yesterday as I watched my son paddle off into the lake I think I knew deep down it was time to leave for a while. I’m happy pottering but the kids need time off grid, away from the fallback of screen time and into a nature experience where they bank resilience and we bank family stories. We will travel in a way that is mindful and also supportive of communities that need support. I think it matters that those of us who like to explore continue to work for a caring approach to travel.¬†

We only have such a short time until life changes. Our eldest two are 16 and 14 and now while they’re still family holiday kids I want to soak it up. My husband needs a break from the bedroom office he’s sat in since Feb and will likely sit in until next year. This is our season, this is our time. When school returns the kids will be in the situational noise that is life, and soon after Autumn will arrive to take us into the deep cold.

It feels sad to see my family and friends at home in their second quarantine, it is always hard to watch people doing it tough at home. Aussies here are beginning to feel increasingly like we’re getting locked out of Australia and away from our families for a long time to come. Perhaps the situation here will again take us into some form of quarantine, it’s all so uncertain. So for now I will choose to continue to live in the world alongside the virus, safely and responsibly of course.¬†

In a few days we’ll make our way and road trip down to a Tuscan farmhouse in the middle of Italy. Off the regular tourist trail and in the middle of two small hill top villages. Next to a national park and far from the coast (by Italian standards), we’ll be in the guts. Further than Melbourne to Syd, maybe Melb to Coff’s.

We’re going to park ourselves for a few weeks to immerse in the local produce, language and is’ness of each other and the Italian warmth. In many ways we will continue to live in the small bubble we are currently in, but where we can also experience the reason we gave up so much to move here. European life. Perhaps I’ll write something longer, perhaps not. I’m excited and I’m nervous, they’re like the same thing sometimes. It feels good to feel, to ponder, to be doesn’t it.¬†

 

P.s. completely utter shit that I get to write about something so frivolous and luxurious as to making a decision to travel sth. I know. I struggle with sharing travel because of the complete privilege of it. But I guess we’ve been on a journey together this month and this is where I’m at and hopefully I can be a voice for less pillaging type of travel, more soul involvement.¬†

 

#writingstreak

#day24/31

#finallycommitted

#allroadsleadtoItalyrightnow