Italy. Germany. Austria. They are long gone.
While the general memories of the great times I had during my time remain, the specifics are beginning to fade. The list of stories I was inspired to tell about my trip is winding down, slowly coming to an end.
There remains one story, however, that just won’t let me move on until it has been told.
I’ve always been proud of the diverse family that I come from. Racially, we are as homogenous as they come. When it comes to lifestyles, however, my family runs the gamut. We have PhDs, high-ranking executives, professional athletes, and, in general, there are those with 99 problems but money is nowhere near one. Then there are those whose decisions have led them down paths where the best they can hope for is to have a day where they are able to eat.
The latter are the ones who held my attention for a brief moment during my ride through Tuscany.
Months before, when the only proof of our pending day trip to Tuscany was the receipt I kept securely in my inbox, I couldn’t believe it. Even months later, when I can now scroll through photos and drink from the souvenir water bottle, I still can’t believe it.
Riding a bike on a warm summer day down the winding streets of Tuscany surrounded by large vineyards and untouched landscape is an amazing thing to experience. As I rode, I couldn’t help but look around and take in the awesomeness of the moment. I, Nicole Jackson, was taking a bike ride in Italy. In Tuscany. It was not a dream fulfilled. I’m not sure if I just didn’t have the gumption or if I just hadn’t thought to dream such a dream. But I knew it was and had been somebody’s dream.
There was a moment in the ride that the rush of amazement and awe that seemed to carry me up to that point dissipated. As I looked across the landscape, my before feelings were replaced with a sadness. It was a feeling that was so out of place in a moment like that. But, as I look back, the sadness was warranted. Because in that moment, as the disbelief of the present reality I was experiencing hit me, I remembered those aunts, those uncles, those cousins, those family members, those people I cared about who would never and who could
never see and feel what I had experienced moments before.
This made me sad.
Whether it was a fear of flying, lack of focus and drive, or worse of all, a closed mind, this moment would be one that few others would experience.
In that moment, the sadness was very literal. I felt sad because fill in the blank would never experience a bike ride in Tuscany. In this moment, with months passed, I realize the sadness was more symbolic. For me, discovering and experiencing the newness and beauty of this world and its many cultures is one of the best parts of being alive. I was sad at the thought that they had never and maybe would never experience what I had felt that day in Tuscany.