I love my travel self ...

I love my travel self, I love the kindness of strangers on the road and I love the challenge of trying to capture something so ephemeral on the page. If I do it right —if I research like an historian, investigate like a journalist, question like an essayist, understand like a sociologist, paint character and place like a novelist, tell story like a griot, craft metaphor like a poet, making meaning like a memoirist— it has the potential to change someone’s understanding of the world. And I’m changed too.

Faith Adiele , travel writer.

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Adjusting to this life ...

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Things I love about this much smaller, quieter, life.

Picking flowers from Dad’s garden and filling vases with them, for here in the house.

Washing my bed linen and drying it outside, although it’s Autumn, more or less.


… perhaps, I finally have my New Zealand breakfast organised.

I love driving up over Three Mile Hill and into the city.

In every place I have ever lived, there has been a preferred mode of transport, a preferred route … always the prettiest way, where possible.

In Antwerp I rode the trams, avoiding some routes in preference of others. Miss 14 and I, as often as was possible, always chose the prettiest route. In Genova, I eventually worked out I preferred walking. In Istanbul, the metro, never the bus. In Berlin, the same. And in the UK, the Underground, and then the Chatterbus, while living in Surrey.

I think, more and more, I understand that I am simply someone who wants to enjoy every moment possible, even the ordinary moments … as opposed to saving up, believing that holidays are the only time where we savour life and seek joy in the little things like the route.

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I have lost, and am in the process of, finding my New Zealand-self. my daughter-self, in these months of moving in with my Dad.

His Dementia/Alzheimer’s gets a little worse every week … I think, sometimes. Other times, he seems to be holding nicely. People who had been watching Dad decline, while he was living alone, say he improved dramatically when I moved in. And I’m sure he did. I think loneliness and boredom, anxiety too, are huge factors in the general well-being of our elderly parents.

He has surprised me with some new ‘thing’ weekly. Most recently, while I was out and about, he phoned to tell me where he was, and to ask me how he would get home. The first time he did it, I was horrified. I thought he’d walked along the street some, and given the condition of his knees, wandering hinted at a whole new level of me needing to be home and watching out for him.

But no, he was looking out through his huge lounge window, telling me the buildings he could see from there. He just didn’t realise he was at home. As he described it, I heard him talk himself back in the Now, and he laughed, saying, ‘This Is my house, isn’t it?!’

So he loses his memory, periodically. Forgets the day, who I am, and where things are. We had a spectacular moment the other day … his pills hadn’t been delivered, he told me on the Sunday. Monday he needed to begin the new series. I was there at the pharmacy, first thing in the morning, only to discover his pills Had been delivered …

So I raced home and began the search, finding them in the linen cupboard, eventually. The same place he, so carefully, put his laundry one day. Forgetting, he accused me of stealing his underpants …

I pick up his medication now. It’s better that way.

But that said, he only has these ‘moment’s, and generally he’s good. And so happy he can still live at home. He shuffles out each morning, groaning over his destroyed knees that can’t be replaced because of his two heart conditions, to get his newspaper and check the world is still there.

And I have to leave him to it, or risk stealing his independence … his reasons for being.

He showers himself, and dresses, with help from the caregivers who come in to put on his pressure stockings.

The care-givers are generally lovely. They give me a little bit of freedom, as I can mostly rely on them. It’s the times when they let me down, usually at the weekend … last minute. I think there are so many out there, needing them.

A little bit of freedom, so strange for this girl who has always tried to wander off and away.

But maybe it’s time I stood still again. I have this book still to write, and it is persistant. I carry it with me where ever I go and so …

So … here I am, like a cat, turning and turning until I can settle down and find that sweet-spot to write. Creating some kind of routine, if that’s even possible, here in this life of mine :-) It’s a much quieter life. I wander alone most of the time but I always have really.

I am learning how to be here.

And sometimes … sometimes I find a little whisper of Genova, and her beautiful ancient caruggi, here in Dunedin, New Zealand.

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A Smaller, Quieter Life ...


My days here, are so different from those beautiful days back in Genova.

I miss the bars, and the lovely people who worked there, making the best coffe in the world.

I miss the noise of the city, and the quiet of the medieval centre.

I miss the musicians, and the everyday presence of ancient places. I miss passing by people whose faces look like faces painted in 400 year old paintings. I miss good pasta and sauce, pizza and walking. 

I miss the Genovese.

BUT, I am learning to love hanging my laundry out on Dad's old clothes line, in the garden that smells of roses and all the other flowers he has there. And it makes me so happy to climb into my bed when thesheets smell of fresh air & sunshine. 

I love the sound of the birds ... one of the only sounds as I hung out my laundry at 7am this morning.

I was always passionate about driving ... about wandering, and so I am happy to be driving again. Even if I enjoyed the kilometres I walked on Genovese footpaths, and the buses and trains. And I'm not sure how to avoid weight gain, other than via that boring path called self-discipline.

Reading. I have just finished 3 books, one after another. Reading late into the night, just as I did as a child.

My espresso machine is making me happy, I just need to go find 'the' coffee. 

I love 32 celsius days (yesterday) and sitting here in the kitchen, back door open to the garden, and working. 

Mmmhmmm, I called the plumber today. The bathroom tap is broken and it has leaked for days now. 
Another thing to love, after a life lived in Europe, I phoned the plumber at 8.50am and he said, 'Okay, I'm doing a job just round the road, I'll come to you after it'. It was the same with the washing machine repair guy. That's quite marvelous really :-)

Here I am, just trying to find my balance again, in this smaller, quieter life that I'm living. 
Buona giornata ...

Foto: these chairs, were just there, in this ancient ruin in Genova. I had my photograph taken in one, and couldn't resist the beauty of this still-life moment, Genovese-style.

The Things An Imaginary Princess Might Do ...

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A woman who imagines she is a princess might arrive back in New Zealand, after so many years spent living elsewhere and, before she does almost anything else, she fails to resist the espresso machine being sold for below cost …

And is she ashamed?

No, she is not.

(Although she tried to be …)

I made my first espresso this morning, using Lavazza coffee, and it’s all been worth it.

Breakfast has long been my Holy Moment. It’s the only meal I truly love. Finding the precise ingredients, to make it Holy, in every country has been the Thing.

I love an espresso, I love good bread for toast, and butter too. And I’ve managed it in Turkey, in Belgium, in England and Italy but I was slow here, and suffered through some terrible coffee.

Life seems quite beautiful this morning.

Loneliness ....

I wrote a post, over on Facebook, about Loneliness ... 

But things have a habit of disappearing there.  It's the nature of FB.  Life scrolls on.  Perhaps it reappears at a memory in a year, or two but I wanted to keep this post because it seemed to really strike a cord in people.  

I wrote from the heart, and people responded from that place too.

It was this:

I have mostly been part of a tribe...
1 of 4 children, twice a wife, a mother, a stepmother, and a nonna too. And then I have had lovely circles of friends where ever I have lived. 
ribes', made up of family & friends, are things that I appreciate so much, simply because I know I should never take them forgranted.

Out here, sometimes, the loneliness makes me leave the house, with my camera, and walk these ancient city streets. It has always been my way, since I was small, in New Zealand I sought out the beaches and rivers.  In Istanbul, I would cross the city on foot.  And anyway, out walking opens me up to seeing things I wouldn't see if I wasn't alone. It's double-edged sword perhaps.

But if I'm honest, I believe that even being part of a tribe can still leave a person feeling lonely sometimes.  Loneliness is interesting. I've been trying to just let it be ... knowing there are so many lonely people in the world. In or out of relationships, surrounded by family or completely alone. 

It makes me kinder. It makes me admire the older people I see, with their walking sticks and their slow shuffles, out shopping alone. I admire their courage. It makes me offer to help because I know I would appreciate it. And sometimes, like this morning, this lovely older woman and I ended up chatting ... about her sciatica.

But in Italy, in Genova, the people who perhaps understand most of all, are the barista's. I adore the ones I adore. Sometimes they save my day, after a night of bad dreams, when I wake alone in this life I am pursuing. Today, a lovely man gifted me a free espresso and gave me back my courage. It's that simple sometimes. It's that simple to be kind.

We don't talk of our loneliness. But we should. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is familiar with it. 

I dislike being this honest :-) but I suspect it is needed in this world where we all prefer to seem like we're doing okay. And we are ... we are.
Buona giornata.

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I was talking with a wise woman the other night.  Her wisdom quietly blew my mind, as she's only 18 however she's way ahead of where I was at that age.  Ahead of so many, of any age, I suspect.

Her history of achievement is quietly spectacular too, both outdoors and academically.  She's waiting now ... to see which university is for her, based on her results.  Physics and maths are her thing.  But so are days out with friends, laughter, and Pokemon Go.  She's startlingly well-balanced and confident. 

I hesitate to write this but this combination seems like a rare gift in these days.  Her parents, her family ... they played a huge role, I'm sure but nothing is ever guaranteed when it comes to how we show up in the world.

Alex and I sat up talking after everyone else had gone to their beds and, much to my surprise, I was gently taken to task for under-valuing my photography.

Although she never said these words, I came away with the idea I should simply get over any doubts that I had then get on with it.  Get on with pursuing my passion for photography, as opposed to pacing up and down on the edge of the pier, wanting to swim but trying to make everything perfect before I leap in. 

Just sell what I do, and talk of what I believe photography is meant to be.  And ohmygoodness, had I heard the story of my life so far??!

But for me, here on the inside of my life, I know all the other stuff.  There's always the pre-leap phase.  And there have been so many times in my life, so far, where I've felt myself back on that pier that heads out into the lake ... pacing.  Wanting to, needing to, jump but so very nervous.

Can I swim well enough?  Sure, but should I wear a life jacket just in case I get into difficulties in the water?  But wait, why not have a small boat in the water, ready to pull me out?  A small boat ... why not a bigger boat, or a cruise ship.  Why not wait, save up and buy a cruise ship and then simply dive into the ship's pool then? 100% success guaranteed ... once I have enough money to buy that big old cruise ship.  

And on it goes, while I remain there on the pier, ready but not committing.

So, to Alex, I write a huge and heartfelt thank you.  You gifted me your idea of me, in that beautifully direct and intelligent way that you have.  Never lose it, never apologise for it.  You're just kind of perfect as you are.

Wishing every success in the years ahead!!  I'm so looking forward to seeing what you do with your life.