Home is not a place…

it’s a feeling… which you can take with you where ever it takes you. Just like a special friendship which endures the years and the miles between you and all very poignant this month because

ten years ago our dearest friends helped us make the most difficult decision of our life. We were struggling… our business had collapsed, our careers in were in tatters and we were literally up the proverbial financial creek without a paddle. The tiny farmhouse we’d purchased here in Italy in 2005 as our retirement plan became a millstone around our neck… or was it?

The Winkers (as they are affectionately known – the story behind the name can be found in my book The Good Expat Life) are friends in the truest sense. They helped us to look at things differently, to consider the ‘what if’s’ and to ask ‘why not?’ They were truthful with us, no matter how hard the message was to hear.  They helped us pack a white van bursting to the seams with our worldly possessions (after we’d sold or given away everything surplus including our house) and move to Italy. Lock, stock and barrel. It wasn’t easy leaving our family behind and more so without the security of being able to return should we need to.  But we believed we had a future. We weren’t sure what it looked like, but our Italian home became our refuge. We had plans, one fine day, of renovation, of guest rooms and a new bathroom. Pipe dreams, given our paltry income, but plans nevertheless.

Then last year, in 2016, events have made us think differently about the physical space we have called home. The earth beneath our feet shook, literally. Not once, not twice but thousands of times.  A swarm of earthquakes, followed by the aftershocks they produce have ravaged Le Marche, the region we live in. We are the lucky ones, our house absorbs the shock. Others have not been so fortunate.

I no longer consider bricks and mortar as a home, the term has a much more fluid feeling to it now. In fact it’s a very mobile feeling as we plan to travel regularly in our motor-home (the contingency plan for future wobbles) accompanied by our Springer Spaniel (Nell) and earthquake rescue kittie (Pootie) and of course, my notebook and fountain pen.

I take my ‘home’ with me where ever I go, in my heart.

And in recognition of our ten years in Italy, I’m giving away the opening chapter of my novel, All Will Be Well, for free. You can download your copy here.

Ciao for now

 

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