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How To Reclaim Places...and Parts of Yourself.

Reclaiming Venice...26 years later

I had waited 26 years almost to the day to return.

Venice, known as ”La Serenissima": "The Most Serene”, stole my heart all those years ago on my honeymoon.

I had vowed to come back someday.

A friend of mine is going through a divorce and had stopped going to several of the places she used to go with her husband. She no longer felt safe there, afraid of all the old memories of him and the sadness it brought up. We needed a mission to reclaim those spots.

We grabbed another friend of ours and went on a “ReclaimingTour”. The first one was a lovely spot that hosts a hotel, spa, theater, concert grounds and more. We three went to see a Sheryl Crow concert there and my friend danced and sung and left later that evening feeling reconnected and safe on her own terms.

I believe there is great power in that.

An older male friend of mine and I were talking about 6 months ago and he shared with me that an acquaintance we both know had recently died. “They gave him 6 weeks, and he died in 6 weeks” my friend shared.

I started thinking what I would want to do if I was given a scary diagnosis, and blurted out to my friend “If I was given that diagnosis, I’d go to Venice.”

The next day I woke up and realized that one of my biggest heart’s desires was to go back there, and I shouldn’t have to wait for a reason or excuse to make it happen.

I figured it out and booked a ticket to Italy.

I felt a rush in doing it, even a little fear. I hate to fly, (well, really I hate the take off and landing part), and going to a country where I didn’t know the language, and had to go through several take offs and landings just to get there, made me feel like it was a brave thing to do.

“I could use a little brave right about now”, I thought.

Talking it over with my mother one day at lunch, she said “Oh, I completely understand, after my divorce I had to “reclaim” the beach town we used to go to. Do you remember the time we got those crazy photos taken in Old West costumes at the beach? That is what I was doing.

Reclaiming Venice sounds like a great idea.

I just got back a couple days ago after staying 2 weeks and seeing not only my beloved Venice, but two new amazing places, Rome and Ostuni in the far south.

I went alone on this trip because it personally challenged me in ways I needed to be challenged. It gave me the complete freedom to “live in the moment”, every single moment. and tune into the absolute beauty of my surroundings.

I got teary as I walked off the water taxi from the Grand Canal in Venice. She was just as gorgeous as I remembered and it almost literally took my breath away.

I met and chatted with a gondolier who was about to retire, sweet baristas at “my new favorite place” in Venice, solo travelers from other countries, and I was asked if I was Italian by three different people, including a tour guide, which brought me so much joy.

Among my souvenirs from this journey are two new friends (who live in London and kindly helped me one night when I was lost), a new found sense of competency, an absolute knowing that I can land on my feet and communicate well, the ability to make connections with other amazing human beings, and an appreciation for new places, their food, art, people, and culture.