We were sitting at the porch outside our rooms (located in a former horse stable) in the warm September evening following the votes come in through Swedish National Television SVT’s streaming service. I’ve never been abroad on Election Day (except for when I lived in Seattle of course) and it felt strange. But thanks to SVT it worked out really well for me.
Yes, you a reading it correctly, I’ve been abroad!!!
I am actually not going to focus on the Election today. Although it’s been a week now, the outcome is still not a done deal. It’s unfortunately even between the left and the right bloc and then the Sweden Democrats a bloc of their own. The situation is locked. Maybe on next Sunday there will be more clarity to report on the subject.
So, I want to tell you about the unexpected and magic fact that I’ve been out of the house for five days! Out of town! Even out of the country! After six years under house arrest I have suddenly been traveling to Italy!!!
Thanks to the record-warm summer my back has been in an unusually good place these last 1,5 months. Late summer early fall is most often the time when I am at my best. That’s when the idea sometimes briefly crosses my mind it might maybe perhaps be possible for me to fly away somewhere. But since I can’t do it on my own, that’s where it stops.
Four weeks ago my friend Agneta suddenly and out of the blue asked me: “would it be possible for you to go to Italy?” Uh… Eh…
It turned out Agneta and her husband Mats had planned a trip with friends, but they couldn’t make it. So, there was a ticket and there was a room in an Agriturismo in Bolsena about 2-3 hours northwest of Rome. What do you say?
What did I say? I was stunned. An agritursimo is basically a farm house. Where you stay, and eat local food and vegetables and fruit from the garden. Slow food and slow vacation. Which is actually the only option for me. A big city adventure would be out of the question. But this I could probably do. Sit in a sun chair and enjoy the view of Lago di Bolsena, the lake giving name to the small town. My biggest problem would be the actual travelling, but finally there it would be perfect. It felt like meant to be!
Due to different health problems besides from my back I didn’t know until a couple of days before departure that the trip would really happen for me. Weeks in uncertain and stressful limbo. Also, because of my many traumatic travel experiences, travelling isn’t a big hurray for me. It’s connected with pain, anxiety and fear. Only thinking about my suit cases and packing brings the panic on. And it’s been six years since I last pulled those out of the closet…
This time around though was very different. I wasn’t alone.
Agneta and I got to know each other when we were 19 years old. Since then we have been singing together. Mats joined some thirteen years later when the two of them became a couple. So, we go way back and our families have had and still have a social life together, as well as mutual friends of ours.
In short, I couldn’t be more safe than with Mats and Agneta. I couldn’t have nicer and more loving assistants. They know me in and out, and they are fine with what they know. That’s a very special thing.
I had a wonderful trip. The travel-days were less hard on me than expected and it turned out airport assistance came with some perks. I’ve been in wheel chair on airports before but only in acute and extremely painful situations. I’ve barely been aware of what’s been going on around me.
This time around was all different. Planned and under control. And for once I could bring something positive. The Fast Track! All three of us were escorted in the fast lane and I felt a bit like George Costanza in Seinfeld taking advantage of my handicap - although his was made up.
The stay at the Agriturismo was just as I had pictured it. Warm, calm, relaxed and a stunning view. The only thing was my bed which was horrible on my back and I only got a few hours sleep during my three nights there.
Other than that, this was just the perfect Italy trip! 27-31°C (80-88°F) cooling off in the evenings. Delicious food and Agneta and I even allowed ourselves carbs in a way we don’t at home, yum… Visits to ancient cities like Pitigliano and Orvieto, and lunch at the sweet sandy beach of Lake Bolsena. I couldn’t have asked for any thing more.
Also, it was very interesting realising that after being housebound for six years unexpectedly let out in the big world again, I felt good about going back as well. It had a lot to do with that horrendous bed and traveling being hard on my body in general of course. Still, it’s a good feeling. Wanting to come home. A very good feeling.
So thank you Mats and Agneta, my dearest friends. For inviting me. For taking such good care of me. For letting me out in the world once again. For giving me an amazing Italian experience to carry me through the upcoming Swedish winter. I am and will be forever grateful.