The Way of Saint Francis, Assisi to Rome, italy
When we traveled as a family, my husband and I wanted to take our children to all the big attractions. We wanted them to “see all the sights” that travel had to offer.
We had busy days and full itineraries.
When visiting Paris, we climbed the Eiffel Tower. We walked across the Tower Bridge in London. We saw Lenin’s Tomb in the heart of the Kremlin and we strolled through New York’s Central Park. We sat on the seats of the Coliseum in Rome, and we climbed the Washington Monument in Washington DC.
But, as it is with age, things have changed.
It isn’t that I am no longer interested in sightseeing, it is just that I want to see other sights. I am finding that I am attracted to the areas less traveled, the less popular sights, the slower scenes.
I don’t like waiting in line, and I like not being on a schedule. I am not interested in the latest “it” place to be and I don’t have a “Bucket List.” I can’t stand crowds, and I have no patience for large groups of tourists. As for fast food, well, that is what they serve in hell.
While trekking The Way of Saint Francis, from Assisi to Rome, I asked myself, “when I travel, how slow can I go?”
How can I savor every moment?
It doesn’t get much slower than walking from destination to destination. Everything in-between, every move becomes part of the destination. Every step is the journey. With every step you are simultaneously arriving at and leaving from your destination. With every step you are gaining and loosing your journey.
Slow food and slow travel are under-rated. I am rewarded more by the less I spend. I do travel on a budget and I seek low cost lodging. I find no value in high-end travel, see-all tours, luxury accommodations, or itineraries crammed full of sight seeing destinations and Instagram bragging moments.
Again, I find myself attempting to appreciate the “here and now.” “Don’t take anything for granted, because it will soon be over.” See the details in common everyday items. Hear more of the sounds in the environment. Feel the ground crunch beneath my feet. Taste every bite. Enjoy every drink. Live every moment and be thankful for the time and experience.
Simplicity, immediacy, and gratitude.
Assisi to Spello, Trevi, Spoleto, Ceseli, Arrone, Piediluco, Poggio Bustone, Rieti, Poggio San Lorenzo, Ponticelli, Monterotondo, Monte Sacro, and Roma.
As I look back at the list of places we visited, it is staggering. But that is nothing compared to the experience of moving through the “spaces in-between.”
Now when I travel, “how slow can I go?”
The answer is “not slow enough.”