Walking into Rome and the Vatican City

Last day of our trek on Via Francegena di San Francesco. (I finally checked one of my photos of the signs we’ve been following to get the name right, so take due note.)

We were tired after 5 days of hard walking/hiking, but so excited too–our final miles. The directions had us following a bike path for much of the way. Its being Sunday, we saw lots of people–bikers, walkers, runners. Such a shift from previous days! And for the first time we walked exclusively on pavement.

The famed garbage problem of Rome. Ironically, this was not an issue so much in the city, but definitely in its outskirts. All bins overflowed, litter everywhere.

I adored my hiking poles, but one of the running gags of our trip was my trying to get the rubber tips to work for me on pavement. They wore out very quickly–probably due to my putting my entire (not insubstantial) weight on them as I got more and more tired. This meant that the pointy part that is so good on rough terrain, skidded and clinked on pavement. I tried stuffing earplugs in the holes in the rubber tips, and that worked for a while, though the tips kept falling off. Imagine the slapstick: put on, fall off, roll some distance (or bounce). Bend down, pick up. Repeat. And repeat. Then I tried pieces of wood that I chiseled down with Annie’s handy army knife. But this last day I gave up, finally stuffed the pathetic rubber tips in a pocket, and tapped my way down the bike path, sidewalks, and streets we walked down.

Easy walking! Virtually no hills and only 9 miles that day–maybe even less! But we were tired. I needed my poles.

We walked along the Aniene River for quite a while –which joins the more famous Tiber (or Tevere in Italian). Much of the time we couldn’t see the water, but we caught occasional glorious glimpses.

We parted from the river, but still went mainly along the “pink” bike path, deviating here and there as the directions indicated. We still saw the occasional sign for our pilgrimage trek but they were sadly quite rare and eventually disappeared entirely. Annie, who was in charge of the directions given to us by our tour group, Hidden Italy, usually led the way and instructed me frequently with various snippets of information. Like, the Rome Mosque is the largest mosque outside the “Arab World” (which includes Russia for some reason). Evidently there was quite a bit of a kerfuffle at its construction, resolved when they lowered the minaret to be shorter than St. Peter’s Basilica.

We were guided PAST a couple of parks, tantalizingly kept from our view by high walls, and annoyingly packed with parked cars that made walking that way difficult. But there were several fun sights on the way.

The oddest bird –a crow in fancy dress? We saw them several times.

All the streets were lined with cars parked very tightly. Impressive parking skills, for sure, but it could be difficult to maneuver around when the sidewalk or bike path disappeared (which it did periodically).

A playground, very heavily used, and banked by intriguing architectural/sculptural…things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But finally we crossed the river–by that time maybe it was the Tiber!– and entered Rome itself. After a delightful surprise of an enormous Sunday flea market,

we started counting bridges.

 

 

 

 

 

Many, many, bridges–these are just some. Finally we saw it in the distance: St. Peter’s Basilica.

That’s it. We were almost there!

Closer. Just one more steep stairway to climb.

Very close now. We’re feeling SUCCESS and glory!

And there it is. Complete with the obelisk under which St. Peter himself is said to be buried.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a fantastic feeling to entire the ancient, eternal city of Rome under our own steam and after several days trekking through the various paths of Lazio to get there. After some confusion to the Rome way of numbering (they address opposite sides of the street differently), we found our hotel for the night, the gorgeous Hotel Santa Anna only a couple of blocks away.

The best part of the room? The most amazing shower either of had every experienced.

Ahhhhhhhh.

And now to relax in Rome, to recover our energies, to explore the ancient world, to eat ourselves silly and to sleep and sleep and sleep.

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Good dogs

Leaving Monterotondo was much nicer than entering it. The sun shone, we were not worried about getting lost, I had slept long and hard. There was a coffee machine, so I could grab my two caffe lattes without annoying a waiter. Well, that’s not strictly true. He was in a sour mood, sighing heavily, no smiles, rearranging everything we touched after we went by, polishing silver, that sort of thing. Poor guy was the same waiter we saw the night before at dinner. Knowing how late the evening meal goes around here, he has to have been exhausted to open up at 7 am. I was cheery after a million hours of sleep, so I forgave him his cranky neuroses.

Before we left town, we were reminded it was Saturday–Saturday market day!

A side note on food. When we were at the castle, we met a charming couple who were vegan. While we adored the castle food, they hated it, because vegan in Italy? Are you crazy?  Although I know people eat vegetables and have seen them for sale, pretty much all we’ve had in that area are tomatoes and lettuce. Okay, some basil leaves. A lot of pasta with milk and cheese and egg and cream and bacon. This is the lands of carbanara after all. Yum! They counteract this load of richness by serving their bread dry. I have learned to horrify servers by asking for butter. Salads are seldom dressed, but they’re happier to bring olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt to the table. In this way, perhaps vegans can survive in Italy.

Actually, when we started to see actual menus, we figured out that vegetables are mostly listed as side dishes.

End of side note. Back to the walk. Fancier houses leaving town–perhaps the wealthy live closer to Rome? Although we were in the suburbs now, there were still lots of fields. We saw our first shepherd with his flock of sheep (lo and behold, these were wearing the cow bells!) and several working dogs.

A lovely descent out of town.

Still nowhere to sit to adjust the paper tape we both used to battle blisters

We walked along a tractor path for a bit. At one point the farmer had plowed our path up, and we had to guess/ have faith we were heading the right way.

It was lovely and easy, though we were both getting progressively more tired–simply the accumulation of days I think. Well, also it was 12 miles, maybe a bit more.

And then, on part of the trail that led through a nature reserve,  we were befriended by two dogs who leaned into us and jumped up in a friendly way and made us go all soft inside. We got concerned as they followed us for a good mile, but they eventually let us continue without them.

These dogs LOVED us!

At some point during our walk, the via di Francesco signs disappeared. Since we were going almost entirely straight, we weren’t worried, but felt a bit abandoned.

Also, more people! It was Saturday and many were out on bicycles or hiking/walking. We saw another couple with backpacks and poles, but they did not seem eager to tarry and talk, but perhaps other pilgrims!

This lovely mosaic shrine greeted us as  we climbed ( of course) the slope up to Monte Sacro, very much a suburb of the Eternal City and our resting place for the night before we finish.

On our way into Monte Sacro, this lovely shrine, a mozaic

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What St Francis Said: the Road to Monterotondo

This was our longest day and our most unpleasant so far. We are getting closer to Rome and so the roads are more road-y, the people in a greater hurry, and the heat fraying our nerves more. It is possible that our feet hurt and we were already tired when we began.

Of course we had plenty of beauty!

One of the sweetest trails ever

Balanced by one of the roughest

I think…wild cyclamen

He looks sweet here, but this dog was snarling and barking his head off just before I got my phone out to snap his photo

It’s been gorgeous, and under 80 degrees fehrenheit the entire time. But we folks from the Pacific Northwest think that any sunshine is a bit suspect. And just about all of it is hot.

The fact is, after about thirteen or fourteen miles, our stamina suffered. Our only (and early)  Fanta of the day was refreshing, but the snooty bar had no toilet paper. After that, there was nowhere else to stop. It was hard to find a rock, let alone a chair in a caffe.

Lunch was along a ditch by a busy road–luckily in the shade.  I’ve been packing in Kind bars and pepperoni sticks, so we never starve.

At one point we were attacked by a couple of dogs. Luckily the owner was right there and called them back–and they obeyed. But it was scary. By the end of the day, I wasn’t sure I LIKED dogs in Italy. That makes me so sad..

After that, it got worse. A youngish Italian woman stopped us and asked in excellent English about where we’d come from, where we were going. When we bragged about the distance (this was after 13 miles or so) she commented on how that wasn’t far, was it? We said, “Yes it’s far for us!” She then shrugged, pursed her lips and nodded. “I suppose it is something you still can do.”

I need to learn some Italian swear words.

Beauty soothes even my crankier reactions (usually).

We were told to look for a Roman ruin. We thought this was it, but it turns out it was merely a very picturesque dilapidated building

THIS is the ruin, in the distance above this intriguing statue out in the middle of nowhere.

At the end of the day, the busy road we walked became a highway. To get under an overpass, our tour led us into a series of weeds. We got totally lost in the directions, then found the markers and came back to the same highway about 50 feet further down. Argh!

The entrance to the city (it was getting dark and we’d been walking for eight hours, pretty straight) was just a terrible slog uphill, busy busy on a Friday night, cars zooming to get home in time to make dinner for a hungry family (I was so hungry), we didn’t really know where we were going, where the hotel was, it was taking forever. Did I mention my feet hurt?

 

Not exactly a castle, but man we were happy to call it home!

But we found it finally, our room for the night, with a shower whose doors barely slid open wide enough to fit a large American woman, but they DID open wide enough. And dinner was wonderful, and we were done with it in time for me to crash hard at 8:30.

This became our mottto for the day:

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi

Not a bad way to live life! And it got us through our 17 miles.

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To the Castle!

We managed to find our way back to the trail fairly easily, and started our trek in good spirits, heading out of the town of Poggio San Moiano in a much quainter downhill fashion than we arrived, including passing by several murals. The light was perfect for shadow pictures also!

We still had a fair amount of shade, but the sun when it hit us, hit hard. Annie promised shorter, but steep climbs, and at first the “shorter” rang true, but then I started to doubt. By the end of the day…well, read on.

It was hazier today, so the vistas weren’t quite as miraculous as yesterday’s, but it was certainly beautiful.

We noticed a LOT of aggressive dog behavior behind fences of farm houses/country estates. At one time, a particularly energetic Rottweiler made me quite nervous, but the chicken wire held after all.

Other noises: cow bells, lizards (which are so common I’ve designated them the squirrels of this area) skittering in the reeds, grasses, rocks, etc. We swear we heard a donkey braying, though it might have been a goose. Roosters crowed, dogs growled, yipped, yapped, barked, and occasionally wined for attention.

Sometimes the path got difficult, but there were long stretches where we actually had nothing to complain about.

Once again we were able to stop at a trattoria in a town on the way for lunch. Panini, Fanta, and chips–ahhh.

A cute town (on a hill of course!) perfectly timed for a rest

Friendly men next to us at the trattoria

Later at another opportune moment there appeared another bar, complete with a friendly dog and some kids to pretend we could eavesdrop on. A wonderful little break before a grueling uphill. I mention these bars–which might  be called caffes or trattorias, because they are rare!

After a difficult climb,  we were done! Almost. Here we deviated from  via Francesco. Our hotel, it turns out (as Annie gets out the last page of directions), is in a castle–the same castle we kept seeing (very cool) in the distance throughout the day.

The walk was first along a very busy road and then it cut away to go up a path that was so steep it was almost unbelievable.

It’s too bad the angle of the incline does not read in the photo, but perhaps you can see the sweat on our exhausted faces, yes? For those who ski, it was like walking up a triple black diamond that kept going on…and on…

Unbelievable anyone could actually drive up or down it, but an elderly woman in a car passed us going down and said “Complimenti” to me several times, to which I said “gracie” and meant it.

But of course the castle neared, and you just can’t beat a castle for …how you say pomp? Ceremony? Grandiosity? Ahhhhh. My American heart swelled.

Closer

Closer

Closer

Arrived!

We had to get permission to cross the moat

A stunning contrast to last night’s accommodations.

You perhaps cannot see that this a two-story room, complete with its own banquet table.

The view from our room. I believe we WALKED that view. Just saying.

We are trading history and terribly cool and nothing free for the tasteless (ie, not to my taste),  uncomfortable,  yet terribly  kind and generous service of the night before. Still, the people here are friendly too!

When you enter, the castle does not disappoint

Ah well. Il faut souffrir pour etre belle. I even wore my swishy skirt to dinner, one of the most delicious I’ve ever had. Alas I don’t do food photos. But here I am in my glory, swank as all get out.

 

 

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Beauty Everywhere- Poggio San Lorenzo to Poggio San Moiano

 Today’s hike, and I mean HIKE, since the way was almost entirely up and then down with little traversing, was both glorious and (of course) exhausting. Unlike yesterday’s long distance, today we hiked only 9 miles, but I was very happy to find our bizarre little apartment at the bottom of a (seriously) excruciating windy hill.

The amazing thing is that we actually went up and down this hill again, due to the need for our apres hike beer. You can tell because Annie is showered and looking quite good.

We had found the city hall our directions dropped us off at, but then had to resort to my GPS to discover where next to go to find our Agriturismo ChiuAgri. As we headed down the street, a man in a car stopped us: “Please!” It was our concierge, who motioned for us to wait; he had to get the key. He returned with a young man named Giorgio, who spoke some English, and who led us down down down a narrow street. Alas the photo doesn’t show it well enough. But there at the end is our apartment for the night: dark, dank, and bright green. Pink bedspreads on the narrow twin below, with a fulll bed above in the loft. Since Annie had the twin for the kids last night, I get them tonight.

The color is actually a brighter Prell green than this looks in the photo. It seems a big Mistake.

But I am starting at the end of the day. We had a glorious day. The weather was perfect–sunny and not too warm (the vistas kept coming and coming, over beautiful hills filled with olive trees, grape vines, even some of what I think were walnuts. Every so often we came upon a shrine, or odd pool with, as below, something unusual about it. I’m just going to shower you photos give you some idea of the glory of our day.

It turns out we had not actually passed through Poggio San Lorenzo yesterday, so we started with that today. What a great little place! Totally charming, some of the apartments were actually built on top of an old Roman wall! And I worry about the age of OUR foundation.

A close up of Roman brickwork

 

Shrine

There were several public cisterns, or wells, or whatever they were along the walk today. Here was a surprising pool, beautifully kept up, with a gremlin spouting the water

Lots and lots of olive trees!

This was our wonderland Trail, our Eden of the day: slightly downhill, dirt path scattered with tiny oak leaves. Lizards skittered on the edges. Views opened up periodically. We were cool and happy.

Alas, Eden turned to Hell all too quickly, and we had a long slog up the worst kind of path–a couple times during the day.

 

We did a side tour to find a cafe to have lunch, as suggested by our literature. Alas the directions were too scant and we ended up adding at least a mile to our day–but we got our shared panini and a sweet place to sit outside.

The view over fields below from our high perch at lunch.

And just to end at the beginning, here we are looking forward to day that began with what we begin to realize is typical for breakfast here: Annie gets a largish pot of tea, and I am forced to ask, with some embarrassment but definite need for a second caffe latte.

 

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The trek begins! Via San Francesco

I want to start with some photos of Rieti, a small city in the very center of Italy. Here’s the proof!

Rieti is the exact center of Italy, so is known as the “umbilica” –as this huge belly button honors not far from our hotel.

Unknown town, Annie found our hotel down these tiny (dead on Monday) streets by miraculous instinct alone

It turns out most businesses are closed on Mondays, so Annie and I had to settle for beer and shared chips (we missed lunch) instead of get the gelato I craved. But the beer was fine!

And here we see our first real references to the man himself: St. Francis of Assisi. This is where we join the Camino, the via… its called many things. If we had time, we could have trekked up to the mountains near here where St. Francis meditated and perhaps died. It turns out when he died they discovered stigmata  on his body. He had not revealed this before because he had not wanted to make people feel uncomfortable.

Saint Francis -I like how dramatic the sun’s angle makes him here

Saint Francis again, his austere kindness showing in more light. A good man to try to follow at least a little in his footsteps

I’m exhausted now, after 7 1/2 hours of hiking/walking over flatland, up hills, down dales, by highways, on asphalt roads, over roads created by tossing down large rocks, scattering the surface with smaller pebbles, then running over it with a semi able to create exciting ruts throughout.

This is one of the wider, smoother paths we were on, not counting actual roads. I found myself craving mud.

We traversed streams, picnicked next to a first century Roman bridge,

The Roman Bridge, first century

and saw one other hiker with poles, but he was not on the same via we were. Plus he was German and could not help us with our confusing directions. At one moment we passed by a taciturn woman standing next to a large pile of smelly garbage in the middle of nowhere, but that was pretty much all the humanity we came across, if you don’t count the drivers who neither slowed nor veered, but also did not hit us.

One of the views on our walk. Pretty, isn’t it? Luckily, Annie noticed so I turned around to look also.

It was a glorious day and we did it! Yay feet and arms and legs and hips and general joie de vivre.

Near the end of the walk, Annie and I started singing: Both Sides Now, They Call the Wind Mariah, Tall Pine Trees Growing, plus a little bit of Belly Up to the Bar, Boys–stuff I haven’t sung since we were kids.

Dogs barked, but then they barked when we didn’t sing also. We had to stop regularly to consult directions that didn’t always make sense, and therefore we went on faith much of the time, which is of course appropriate considering the path. And we gave a grateful huzzah each time we saw the pilgrimage sign.

YAY! We’re not lost!

 

And now we are at the hard to reach but so peaceful Agriturismo Santa Giusmo on the outskirts of Poggio San Lorenzo, said to have 578 residents, but who’s counting? We are the only guests, but one of the family brought us a large beer to share. The swimming pool felt like someone had dumped cubes of ice into it along with a large bug population, but I went in anyway. The hot shower afterwards felt might fine, my friends.

Pretty place, and we are mighty tired. And so grateful to collapse!

 

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Firenze to Rieti-before the trek

The Duomo lit up–Just for us of course! It fills the sky.

Today I made the resolution not to despair if I could not figure out the blogging issue on this trip. But that doesn’t mean I will stop trying!

Today, Annie and I travel from Firenze to Rieti. If we were doing the full Francesco Pilgrimage, we would have started at the Duomo, but that takes a good 35 days and we don’t have that long–not this time. Speaking of the Duomo, take a look at what we saw last night on our way to our first Italian meal.

Annie arranged for us to stay right near the Duomo at the Hotel Balcony, and this morning I discovered coffee selections of every imaginable type at the press of a button. A learning moment: Cappuccino has very little coffee in it; Caffe latte has more. Both are good, but in tiny cups.

We then walked, each wearing an earbud attached to Annie’s phone (not an easy or graceful feat), from the Duomo to the Ponte di Vecchio as led by Rick Steve’s on his audio tour. We’d been to Firenze before, and had seen these sights before, but what a glorious city! Too bad we couldn’t stay to truly appreciate all the artistic glories of this city, but we needed to catch a train.

Some of what we saw:

Duomo in daylight may be even more impressive

The Rape of the Sabine Women, of particular interest since we start our trek in Rieta, where the Sabines came from. One story says that Romulus, after he killed his twin , Remus, needed women to grow his new city, so his men stole the women away from the Sabines. By the time they got their act together to attack Rome, the women were family to both sides, and pleaded that there be no fighting. Hm.

And next to this taking up large amounts of the piazza di Medici square…. huh? Maybe this is akin to the next colossus of Rome, but I don’t think so. Still, we see the signs that art is not dead in Florence

More art–this time it looks political. It stands next to the replica of  the David.

 

I  already know I packed way too much. How do I know? My luggage is a million pounds. The reason is that I decided to bring 5 pairs of shoes, including two pairs of hiking boots. Excessive for seven days of challenging walking? I think: yes. And perhaps I didn’t need to bring two pairs of sandals and some attractive walking shoes to go with a flirty outfit I decided I must pack to look swishy in Roma, but I was under pressure when I made these decisions. I also brought all the underwear I own and most of the socks, a sun hat, hiking poles, two liter-sized water bottles and a contigo to carry in the fanny pack I’m using as a purse. I brought two backpacks. What was I thinking? I don’t know. I was not thinking about hefting this bag up into train and bus overheads. Or even trundling it down streets which are not smooth asphalt but bumpy pavers or (uh-oh) cobblestones. I was not thinking of hotel rooms which are on the first floor–but that the first floor is, in Italy, up several staircases. Next time I will think of these things. Please.

But we made it to Rieti, only tripping and falling up stairs once as we tried to heave our bags quickly onto a train. The conductor laughed charmingly. We through several tunnels, which does make us think…hm, cutting through large hills, which we shall be walking.

One last quick view of

I’m not positive but I think this our path out of town tomorrow. Down. And up.

Rieti before I go to bed to prepare for the Big Hike tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On the Road, in the Skies

Longer line at the Peace Arch border than anticipated–scarily tight connection because of it.

Annie and me after a long night awake–and the airport ceiling, a work of op art.

I love this! The man inside this enormous clock, erases and re paints the hour and minute hands every minute. Looks totally real.

I’m writing most of this from this lounge spot. Can you see the grand piano? No one is paying the slightest attention.

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Enter into Adventure

This is a test. This is only a test.

I’m kidding. This is not so much a test as an experiment. And here it is: I’m going on an adventure. To Italy! I leave tomorrow!

And I’ve bought a nifty set up to see if I can blog about my adventure while it’s happening.

Here’swhat I bought:

This is a keyboard–the little plastic gizmo behind it holds my iPhone so I can see stuff. The keyboard opens up and presto!

I can type–almost normally.

So that’s partly why this is a test. I don’t really know if I’ll be able to post while I’m traveling. Will this gadget withstand my lack of savvy when it comes to my very cool but sadly already outdated phone which I don’t really understand?  We’ll see. That’s why it’s an adventure, right? You don’t really know what you’re getting into.

This is what I do know: Last Spring, my sister Annie planned this exciting trip with a good friend.  I was jealous–who wouldn’t be? They were going to be walking into Rome on the St. Francis of Assisi Pilgrimmage Trail! The days on the trek would be challenging, anywhere from 8-14 miles each day. Annie and I are dog walking buddies, so I said, sure, I’ll help you train. We did a few long hikes. Then in August, her friend got hired, a dream job. But she had to move; she couldn’t come on the trip.

I’m taking the friend’s place. Tee hee. And so, since early September we’ve been seriously training. I’ve seen places and trails in my neck of the woods that have stunned me with their beauty.

Below is a view from the Watson Lakes Trail, followed by some other photos from ’round these parts.


Mount Baker is OUR mountain around here in northwest Washington State

Annie perched above Raptor’s Ridge with her dog.

View from the Chain Lakes Trail up on Mount Baker

Fireweed, also on the Chain Lakes Trail.

I hope you will follow me on this trip into the unknown. The lessons I am trying to learn so far:

1) That wild rumbling feeling in my stomach, that edginess in my shoulders, that thing that keeps me tossing at night? Call it  excitement. Because that’s what it is.

2) Laugh first. Those were the bon voyage words of a friend of mine. How wise!

If you have more advice, please share in the comments. Until, then, andiamo!

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Chaos Boxed

Sometimes my world seems so out of control and out of focus I don’t know what to do with myself.

Last year too many big shifting events that carried loss for me happened too close together. As a friend explained about what can happen when grief hits, my compass got broken. I lost my footing. The universe was no longer behaving how I expected it to, wanted it to, counted on its doing.

This happens to us all at some point, and how we respond is as individual as everything else about us. Metaphorically AND literally, I turn around in small circles for a while, repeating over and over, “What do I do? What do I do?” After I assess the damage (some might call this grieving), I have to find a way to box the chaos so that I can function within it.

If I look at the image above–IMAGINE the hugeness of this galaxy Cassiopeia–GET that it’s only a small fraction of the universe itself–SPIN out of control into the immenseness of the thought–I freak out. But when it’s boxed up in that photo in a gorgeous representation? No need to worry, I can sit back and bask in the wonder of it all.

Yay boxes!

They protect us from danger

 

Wrap presents

 

and, like the Tardis, maybe take us to strange and wonderful places on the outskirts of our imagination.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I’m talking about is my need for structure, especially when my life goes awry. I need to feel in control, even in the midst of unknowing. Especially in the midst of unknowing. Structure gives that to me.

Without the box to tame the wonder, the danger, the surprises, the creativity in me, the fluster of not knowing what to expect from this new universe takes over. The school I attended provided a great box that I functioned happily in for 4 years. Ironically, one of the losses that hit me last year was the fact that I succeeded in the program. I got my degree! I graduated! Yay!

Except now it’s over, the chaos hit again:

How am I going to determine what I want to do with my life?

How am I going to make that happen?

I’ve always been tremendously jealous of people who know what they want to be when they grow up, what they want to DO, who have a passion that drives them beyond everything else. That’s not me. Let’s face it, I’m a writer, yes. But it’s not like I think I’d die or go up in flames or something if I wasn’t allowed to do it. Does that mean I shouldn’t bother? There are people who say, yes, it does mean that. The world has plenty of writers already! But since I don’t want to listen to those people and I don’t have to listen to those people, I’m not going to!

But I still need my structure, my box for the chaos of who I am. And here’s where a series of gifts I got last week comes in. 1) A writing buddy and I shared writing contracts for the year (mine includes a monthly blog post, huzzah).  2) Another friend asked if I would join her in daily goals and following-day accountabilities via texting. I agreed. 3) I found out about bullet journals, created by Ryder Carroll as an organizational tool. So far it’s working really well for me.

More irony–I’m using my Van Gogh (not the sanest guy)’s journal to keep me sane!

Inside are lists and indexes and hand-crafted calendars and more lists! Keeping me steady, keeping me true to my promises to myself.

Here’s what I particularly like about it:

  1. It’s hand written. No computer necessary, just pen and notebook (make it a durable one, though.)
  2. You can start without knowing much about how to do it and it’s still useful.
  3. There are videos showing you tips and how-to’s when you want to get advanced.
  4. There’s a lot of crossing off of accomplishments, but not a lot of judging.
  5. You can (it’s suggested you do) use if for all aspects of your life.
  6. It’s particularly good for me, who is self-employed and self-motivated.

It’s great to feel empowered by boxes. What strategies do you use to feel excited by life?

 

 

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