It is said that when you travel you become braver. Is that true of you?
In my case, I’ve found that the more I travel, the more confident and brave I seem to become. For example, on my first few trips to Italy, I would marvel at those doorways that lead to inner courtyards, but I would not step inside. Not when I was alone. Not when others were doing it. It felt invasive and disrespectful to me, because in my country, we don’t linger outside homes (except when decorated for a holiday) or venture into their yards (except when paid to do so).
Then on a 2007 visit to Florence, my friend and I rented an apartment in a building with one of those heavy wooden doors with a beautiful hallway leading to a courtyard. In our week there, people came and went – delivery people, residents with dogs and bikes, and tourists with cameras. Everyone smiled and said “buongiorno”. It was on that trip, I started very gingerly stepping beyond those big doors to glimpse into the courtyards.
I didn’t linger at first but I tend to linger a bit longer now. I marvel at the beauty of the hallways, often decorated with frescoes and decorative ironwork. I marvel at the beauty of the courtyard gardens, or the beautification of those paved courtyards with potted trees, climbing trellises, and small statues. Even the recycle bins look good in these courtyards!
So I don’t believe I’ve become necessarily braver, but experience has given me the knowledge that it’s okay to respectfully enter an open door and quietly appreciate what’s beyond it.
Mini ink and watercolour #121 – “San Gimignano Door, Tuscany”
(Available May 11 in a new release of pieces at my Etsy Shop, ArtWeWonderful)