Some journey’s can only be travelled alone. 

And that’s precisely what I had to experience a few weeks ago.

When I say ‘had’ to, let me explain.

I’d just wrapped ‘Return to the Heart: A Tuscan Reset’ with my dear friend, Mandi of Nourish Travel and nine incredible women from all over the globe. We were completely ‘held’ in this quiet and calm pocket amidst rolling green hills and the care of the retreat owner Cali, as well as our private chef for the week, Ricardo.

It was a dream.

For months leading up to the Italian retreat I’d wondered what I might do post retreat in terms of travel, adventure, quiet nooks to seek out and write or rest or read. Others had asked would I join them in their plans and although alluring, there was this quiet but firm voice within that said, “Go it alone. Go somewhere quiet and be.” And experience tells me that when I get a voice like that, I say ‘yes’ – even if, and especially if it scares me.

Hence, I ‘had’ to. Somehow that voice always has some charming thing to show me.

And so the day before we finished retreat I book an apartment in Orvieto, a small city perched on a rock cliff in Umbria. It looked stunning. Medievil kind of stunning. The scene was set. I would arrive just on dusk on train to be picked up by, Enzo who owned the apartment I was staying in. And so he did. And he was very kind.

As soon as he left the apartment something hit me.

At first it was disappointment – the apartment looked nothing like it did in the pictures online and everything was dark. This then turned into sadness. And it felt in stark contrast to the cosy luxury of a restored Tuscan farmhouse with its warm lights, comfy beds and heating.

I sat down and began to cry. I called home – which intensified the sensations that started running through me. Eventually I cleaned myself up and went for a walk in the last bit of faded light. The town was beautiful and I was sure at some point I was going to get lost. And I did. In many ways. And in the best kind of ways.

I realised I was on my own. And I felt lonely. And as I tried not to cry into my pizza it became apparent to me that I was truly guided here for a reason. It was starting to make sense.

After dinner I found my way home, took a shower and sat down as if taking orders from the divine. After all, I’d been guided here. And I had to trust that.

So I let it all come. All the feelings, all the despair, all the grief, all the fear. I let them flood me like I was a hollow reed. I cried and I convulsed.

I let them in and through and out making way for the next wave.

Wave after wave.

Some of the feeling were apparent but honestly most of it felt unidentifiable.

For all those years of living in share houses and then by myself, I’d always covered up this feeling of loneliness with eating disorder behaviours or distracting myself in others ways to numb out.

A dark night of the soul, let’s call it. It was hard. But when I woke up the next morning I felt cleansed, clarified…renewed.

I learned a lot that night.

I learnt that one of my core fears is being alone – even though I never would have said this about myself before.

I also learnt that when you follow the guidance of the Great Mystery, it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. You get the medicine you need for growth and expansion.

And we always have a choice. To lean in. Or opt out.

I’m glad I leaned in this time. It gave me the opportunity to face some things. Big things and small. It gave me the opportunity to see where I abandon myself, where I still cling on too rigidly and where I have co-dependency on people and places.

May we welcome our fears and feelings so that they may pass through and empty us out for something new, something expansive, something beyond what we could imagine for ourselves.

Big love and cheers to ‘feeling it’.