Since we were young our parents and family preached that we must have a path in life; to get from point A to Point B in the most efficient manner, and have a goal to strive toward. While at the time it seemed like sage advice and even now holds some value, parents would always say, “stay on the straight and narrow” or, “we must guide our children; when they wander off the path it’s our job to gently guide them back”. But looking back, while it kept many of us out of “trouble”, it certainly did not spark the wanderlust creativity that some of us don’t even know we need to feed. It was boring don’t you think?
An interesting example of staying on the straight and narrow is traveling to a foreign country and going on a tour. Sure you might learn all the history behind why doors in a certain town are painted special colors or what the local dish is. But you may never learn that the painter that originally picked the color and painted the doors was doing so as part of a feud with the local restauranteur who was attempting to change the local dish! Getting out on your own, getting lost and getting to know the locals gets you off the beaten path and gives you a vacation memory that you and only you will have; not the same vacations that all of the members of the tour will have. The photographs will be yours. They will be different. And, they will tell the story that you created; not the one you followed along to.
We visited Italy one year ago and made our home “base” the crazy and wonderful city of Naples (but that’s another story). Naples, as you may know, sits on the coast and offers access by sea to other parts of Italy and several small islands in the area, most notably Capri. Yes, we visited Capri. Who doesn’t when in Naples? But our shining “off the beaten path” moment was Procida. Ah, beautiful Procida. Smaller, and less traveled than its sister islands of Ischia and Capri; but uncrowded, peaceful and breathtaking. And, one of our favorite memories was created when we rented a Vespa and took on the narrow (some times one way), cobblestoned, streets and wound our way from the harbor up into the mixed residential and commercial streets, avoiding other Vespas, people, delivery vehicles and opening doors. Life seemed to stop and focus on only us as we headed up toward the sun and out of the shaded corsos. We were unstoppable and determined to conquer the streets of Procida. Faster and with more confidence we rose from the harbor and then it happened! We found ourselves in unfamiliar territory. We stood at the precipice and looked down. Then we looked back and realized, “We missed the turn!”. We had been gaining as much speed as confidence on the ride up that in our excitement we rocketed right by the turn we needed to take to get us to the other side of the island. We were headed to the beach.
Well, life had thrown us off the path and we had no parents or tour guide to guide us back, so we looked around and what we found was unlike any other vista we’d seen. One end of the island to the other was panoramically laid out for us, and only us (remember life stopped and focused on us). It was unbelievable and for a brief moment we were speechless; but this was quickly followed by several jaw dropping expletives and furious photo taking. The image of what we witnessed is shown below.
Perhaps the moral of the story is evident. But if not, LiFE is NOW… sometimes you need to get off the beaten path, immerse yourself in life and create memorable stories for yourselves.
Check out the video below for a sample of the fun ride we had from the harbor!