I’m on a boat! Sorry, I had to. Just a couple of months ago I was cruising around Italy on the crystal blue water of the Mediterranean exploring one of the Pontine islands with the salty breeze whipping through my hair and the bright beaming sun above. Shades on, smile on. Need I say more? Yes, because those aren’t the best parts of boating around Isola di Ponza, or Ponza Island, in Italy.
It’s not every day that you get to look out of your window and see the ruins of a 15th century palace. Or fortress. Or house of a wealthy family. Whatever it was atop that hill across from our villa on Isola di Ponza — that crumbling structure barely clinging to whatever historical moment in time it came from — it was a magical sight. Something out of one of my fantasies. I always dreamed of exploring ruins and castles as a young boy, but I had never thought I’d bee sleeping across from them.
Everybody needs a little kick in the mojo sometimes. A jolt of energy to get life shocked back into. A dose of pure inspiration from the voices and the pens of travelers, philosophers, dreamers, and doers. Hell, sometimes you just need someone to slap you and shout, “Get off your ass and chase your dreams fool!”
Oh how the adventures of backpacking can swing dramatically from lows and highs. Trust me, I would know after all, because for a chunk of my time in Italy and across parts of Eastern Europe I was living on bread and ketchup as my budget bottomed out and I was left pondering what to do next. Well, maybe slightly freaking out.