I have been fortunate enough to have travelled a fair bit. Some places leave you speechless, some leave you introspective, some leave you wanting more, some you wish you had never visited, and then, there are those places that completely change you! I know I have a flair for the dramatics, but I say this with nothing but honesty - Rome was life changing..
Walking down the cobblestone streets, hearing romance in the air, being a part of the worlds largest children’s design thinking summit, sipping on Italian wine and meeting minds that resonate with every ounce of your belief - its pretty damn inspirational no?! This could very well turn into a rambly post, but in the interest of user satisfaction, I’m going to try to summarise my experiences in Rome with simple lessons I have learnt, and hope that it offers you some insight into my trip. Here are the top 5 things, that Roma has taught me..
1) “Senza Paura”
When I was in Florence two years ago studying Performance and Italian - a phrase I was taught in my first Italian Class, and a phrase I have never forgotten was just this.. Senza means Without, and Paura translates to Fear. Without Fear! This trip taught me the true meaning of the ‘fearless’ tattoo I inked onto my skin as a naive sixteen year old. Whether it was in conducting a dance workshop for a group of 2000 children from 70 countries in the Piazza Dei Congressi, or exploring a new corner of this enchanting city each night - I was pushing myself, facing my fears, and offering them rest. I made a very difficult decision to not attend the IDF in Busan (where I was to fly directly from Rome for) - I was not feeling it, I was not ready, and I didn’t want to go - but I was afraid. What broke that fear was when someone told me nonchalantly ‘if you don’t want to go, Dont go!’ - What I had hyped in my mind, what I had chained with locks, in a second, felt so easy! We often complicate our lives, we think an awful lot, we put filters of fear, when in reality, whats in front of us is actually so easy! And I learnt that day, all it really takes is simplicity… to be simply without Fear!
2) Feeling Small is not a bad thing
I was surrounded with Roman architecture - colossal, larger than life, defying rules, grander the greater structures. And there was a brief moment outside the ‘Teatro di Marcello’ where I was staring at the wide expanse of stone, and feeling awfully small.. I felt swallowed by the greatness and I felt tiny in the larger scheme of things. And while it briefly scared me, it also inspired me! Translating this into life, I have been made to feel small about a lot of things, coated with pettiness and unimportant drama - and it’s hurt. It was not until recently, that I realised its okay to hurt. Its okay to feel. And then, its okay to use that feeling, to inspire you, to encourage you and to motivate you. So feel small, because sometimes, rock bottom will teach you lessons that mountain tops never will…
3) Comfort in the Uncomfortable
We were organising the World’s largest children’s Design Thinking Summit! 2000 children from 70 countries! New languages, new perspectives, new cultures, new emotions - a beautiful reminder of the diversity of this incredible world. I realised the importance of being a continuous learner.. Adapting, changing, evolving at every challenge thrown my way, at every question I did not have an answer for, at every decision that was to be made. And it was fucking fantastic! Being out of my comfort zone was challenging, but oh it was rewarding! Comfort zones are wonderful, but also terrible! They bring about complacency, they kill the fire that once used to exist. They encourage mediocrity. So, Challenge yourself, stir yourself, risk everything for yourself, but whatever you do - never settle for yourself! You will never get lost, within the realm of the known – but believe me, the moment you gather the courage and take one step outside – you will be blinded by the most spectacular light. All it takes is insane courage, and complete faith - that you may be leaving behind current contentment for struggle and challenge: but the satisfaction that growth will bring - will open up your heart and free your soul.
4) The Inner Circle
This trip taught me a lot about the importance of friendship. I have never been one who has too many friends.. I was bitched about a lot in school (principal’s daughter and all), and I struggle a lot to make new friends. And then, there are the people who click.. The people who just get you! I was so lucky to be surrounded by those on this trip. The ones who know you’re not okay just by looking into your eyes, who know you’re struggling without you having to say it, who know you need a hug without you asking for it.. I had an experience before coming to Rome that really stung me deep, but this trip proved that my inner circle, my people, always have my back. Rome was beautiful - and I made a lot of new friends, some who will stay friends forever, and some who were but passerby’s in my journey - but one thing is for sure, sometimes your circle decreases in size, but increases in value…
5) Rome Wasn’t built in a Day!
And nor will your life! The biggest thing Rome taught me, was one step at a time. Keeping focus, feeding your passion, getting rid of pettiness and moving ahead slowly. Pick your battles, be more steely about the people you interact with, fall and fail, but always get up stronger. You don’t just wake up and become a butterfly - growth is a process.. Its often uncomfortable, messy and full of feelings you weren’t expecting.. but then again, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. One brick, one step, one move at a time… and maybe, just maybe, you will create the colosseum of your life and look back at the sweat and smile.
Grazzie Mille Roma - Tu Sei Fantastico !
Bacci Abbracci xx