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Walk Into My Story

THREE COUNTRIES. 1300 KILOMETERS. A MONTH OF SOLITUDE.

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Italy Austria Germany

APRIL-MAY 2019

Two years ago I was lost, living a life based on traces of pain from my past. I was someone’s mother, someone’s wife, someone’s friend, with more than one person residing inside me. I had forgotten which one was the real “I” until I walked the trail of that first mountain and reached the top.

“Walk into my story” began with an invitation from a friend to hike in Cinque Terre. I wasn’t a fan of hikes, and suffice to say, my friend had to use a few tricks to make me climb that first hill. Back then a beautiful picture of the view from a mountain top was worth more than me having to earn that view and climb for it. Yet, when I reached the top, when I took in the salty air and looked at the blue of the sea spreading in front of me, I knew something had shifted inside.  

I am a story hunter. People motivate me, their life stories are treasures. Inspired by the people I meet from all walks of life, by their cultures, their diversity and strive to bring beauty in any form for other people to experience, I felt compelled to understand more about human nature, culture, our differences which make us unique. This process pushed me to walk into my own story; my own past.

I started hiking every weekend, covering the hills that surround Florence, my home base. Upon my return home, I felt better, more confident, happier and calmer than ever before. I didn’t feel I had to juggle one life too many on a daily basis. In nature, among trees, on climbing paths and mountain peaks, I was in complete control; my failures or successes depended on me alone.

I began documenting my experiences, writing chapters of a book that had no title. My people often joked that I am writing ‘The book before the book.’ It was a book about a confused self, one that guided my present life, one that had forgotten to embrace the moment entirely. Until one day…

I walked twenty kilometers into the forest, on the famous Via Degli Dei path. The silence was disturbed only by the music of the tree leaves, touched by the wind. I reached a meadow, that spread its green and invited me to sit. I looked beyond the trees, beyond the path and knew that stopping was no longer an option. My body and mind wanted to move further, discover more, regain the control I knew I had lost over myself.

I smiled all the way home to my people, my daughter, and my husband; a smile that made my face hurt, a smile that had a chosen distance behind it: 1300 kilometers.

 

That evening, in the silence of the house I decided a destination for the distance and wrote the words ‘Walk into my story’:

I was born as a puzzle, and as years went by, someone would come and kick the pieces, spreading them further and further apart, making it impossible for me to collect myself as a whole being. Every time I would connect a piece in its place, another one would fall or would be pushed away by someone else. I’ve always felt as a damaged puzzle missing a bunch of pieces from some corner of myself.

Trying to gather those pieces was sometimes fun, and soon I discovered that I could fill the holes with something else: a feeling, a joy, a crazy adventure. But those never fit quite right; they weren’t the right color or the right size. I never belonged to myself because of it. I was a slave to my own dramas and pain. When I walk from A to B, when I challenge my body to do what my mind doesn’t want to, the puzzle pieces stop falling.

No, I can’t collect them, nor can I put the ones missing back, but it stops the ones that are in place from falling apart. Time stops; everything stops. It’s me, myself and I. It’s me walking on hidden paths talking to myself; it’s me trying to figure out why I am damaged; it’s me accepting that I am.

‘Walk into my story’ is the need to escape the world I’ve created around me, the process of accepting an ‘I’ that stands alone.

Ela Vasilescu

Writer

WHO I AM

Writer / Story Hunter

I’m a writer based in Florence, Italy.

Human nature inspires me, different cultures, traditions, folk stories and the differences which make us unique. Documenting stories is a privilege, a glimpse into humanity, an unforgettable experience, one which I embrace and honour every day.

If you have a story twitching in the back of your pocket, one that is ready to be told, shared and heard, chances are I will be ready to listen; so don’t hesitate to send me an email.

You can read some of my words on Medium, and Writer in Florence.

Follow me on Instagram, and Facebook.