I’ve mentioned my inspiration for this blog project before, but for those who don’t remember, it came from my friend Ela, who had previously succeeded in completing an entire year of blogs which you can read on her website called 365 Days of My Life. Before knowing she was a writer, I knew her as a wife and mom.
When Rami and I were planning our wedding, we had a tiny budget and wanted to not make too much of a fuss, though I knew I wanted some pictures, I certainly couldn’t see spending thousands on a photographer seeing that we weren’t even spending that on the actual wedding itself. I thought – if there are enough art students in this city, one must be good enough and want some more shots in their portfolio to take on our wedding. After a few posts on Facebook, I had found Dorin instead of a student, and he gave us a quote over coffee that seemed absolutely reasonable (and honestly low for the work he did) compared to the “professional wedding photographers” that were skilled in bumping up prices. Ela was Dorin’s wife – and I met her in the middle of Piazza Santo Spirito in September 2014 when I went to go pick up the photos from him.
Since that meeting, we found common interests in writing, which led to other interests and get-togethers like our writing group that she had first invited me into. One day as we sat over our normal coffee, she told me she had a new project, and it was a big one.
“I’m going to walk to Germany.” She declared as she rolled a cigarette.
“I’m going to walk from here to Germany,” she repeated. I looked up at her from awkwardly stirring my cappuccino while reaching around Stitch sitting in my lap.
“That’s…far?” I questioned again, not sure where this conversation was going. She couldn’t be serious.
But she was, and in time, I understood her goals and accompanied her into the woods of Fiesole and listened to her stories and her passions and read drafts of a dream of a book of hers late into the early hours of the morning. And now, two years later, she’s finally ready to go. She’ll take off in April, but has now made her dream public and wants to share. I could explain more myself, but her website and videos do all the work (thanks to help from the talented Dorin – amongst a few others) It’s a personal journey, an author’s journey, something that most wouldn’t think of doing, but maybe more should.
I’ll miss our coffee’s together, but hopefully, I’ll be able to visit her as she heads north, and of course, follow her along the way. Another one of our friends, Marisa, another writer, put it better than I could do today (I’m not on my writing A game) when she summed up Ela:
“She’s a phenomenal person, with a backstory that would make most people crash and burn, but instead she pushes herself to create love and meaning with each day. There’s no bullshit with Ela, and no cruelty either, just consistent courage in the face of reality, a commitment to love, and eternal pleasure in the small things of life.
She’s walking to Germany. For all the reasons a person holds deep in their soul. There are some things, some peace, that can only be found by crossing three countries on foot. She has lived some lean and tough years, and a euro given to this woman can become more in joy and life experience than many people would ever realize money could mean. This trip is not flippant or “just for fun”, but a deeply soulful journey for a woman prepared to face all aspects of herself while walking the path… oh, and she can write the shit out of her life experiences, which will be well worth the read, and she does it all in English which is not her first language.”