I think that in order to grow and get to know oneself, at one point in everybody’s life is a time when you need to run away and get totally and completely lost. (At least that’s my theory…)
This happened to me the summer of 2008 when I was going though a rocky choice-laden time in my life. My dad lived in Munich, so I took the opportunity to fly across the pond and explore a new city before I had to buckle down and finally make a multiple life changing decisions. What I didn’t expect from the summer is that I would be led on an amazing journey with new friends that would gift me with amazing experience that would stick in my memory forever and would eventually lead to a city I knew nothing about- Venice, Italy.
I’m writing about this experience on Strand Style because I recently read a Vogue article about Venice that reminded me nothing of my adventure, but instead jogged my memory about a time in my life that made a huge impact on who I am today.
Even five years later, when I think of that summer I can still smell and taste the heat… Guzzling down gallons of water was a perpetual habit because of the amount of sweat that would leak out of my pores every single day. Often days I would make multiple outfit changes because of how drenched I was in the humid, sticky sun. Yet- even despite the heat, and probably because of the heat- that visceral feeling of heavy air will always stick with me, and not in a bad way.
Whenever I think of Venice my cheeks always twitch into a smile when I think of all of the goofy, ridiculous and amazing moments I shared with my travel companions. Popping the cork of a bottle of Bellini on a dock surrounded by boats and gondolas, attempting to speak Italian in a local market, getting tipsy in the streets of Venice while unsuccessfully trying to find our hostel, riding the water taxis and leaning into the mucky air to get just a moment’s respite from the heat… All these moments will stick in my mind and often come back to me at very unexpected times.
The light in Venice forever changed my view on the world— harsh sunlight pounding on the laundry that hung throughout the city inspired me, and hiding from the sun in the shadows of archways and tiny, winding streets will always haunt my dreams and force me to remember long-forgotten moments. The memory of the light mixes with the memory of the heat and warms my thoughts of the adventures we had exploring the city and the numerous islands around it.
To me, Venice will always mean freedom— and hope. Freedom before I knew who wanted to be, and hope that somebody I would find that person, and certainty that one day I would.
Now, years later I can connect the dots and directly point to that summer as a reason for some of my bolder, more life changing decisions. After I came back from that trip I came face-to-face with different possible paths, and I know that because of that summer, that place, and those people, I made the right choices.
I hope that everybody gets a chance to get lost and find themselves.