A couple of days ago on the train to Florence I watched the movie “Before Sunrise” on my laptop.
It’s a quirky little feel good movie about an American who meets a French girl on a train going to Vienna and when it’s time for them to go their separate ways he comes back for her and talks her into getting off the train with him to explore Vienna for the day and night. It’s quite a romantic notion and probably something we all dream of.
I had the chance to do something like that today.
I’ve been spending so much time the last couple of days trying to figure out how my next leg was going to go. All the puzzle pieces weren’t quite fitting together no matter how I tried.
I finally figured it all out (mostly) and was heading out early this morning to do a hike of the five villages on the Tuscany coast known as Cinque Terre followed by a visit to the south of France, Bordeaux, Malta and then Milan to Venice (like I said, hard to fit it all together).
Anyway, I felt torn the entire time. It felt like the universe was trying all its’ might to not make this easy for me. After waffling on it forever I finally made the decision – I was doing it.
I ate my breakfast and then sat on the couch in the common room killing a half hour before I had to leave for the train station.
And then she walked in and sat down.
Katharina is German (of course) and here in Florence interviewing for a PhD. She’s tall and beautiful and we only had a mere 5 minutes to talk as it was now time for me to go.
So after a brief talk I headed out the door and walked down the street towards the bus station.
For a good 15 minutes as I walked away I kept feeling in my gut that me leaving wasn’t right. I mean, the universe had fought so hard to make this upcoming leg of the trip so hard to figure out. Maybe I was meant to stay. Maybe she was put there for a reason.
After an inner struggle where I actually stopped on the street twice debating whether I should go back to the hostel or not I finally decided…
I was going back to talk to her.
It was a crazy idea. I mean I only talked to her for 5 minutes and really knew nothing of her but I needed to do this. If I didn’t I think I would regret it for a very long time.
I went back to the hostel with the intent of dropping everything. No visit to Cinque Terre today. No stay at the Genoa hostel I had already paid for tonight. No visit to Southern France. Or Malta. Or Milan. Just a few more days in Florence before heading to Venice instead.
But I felt like that was the way the universe was pushing me.
So I went back.
She was surprised to see me back and I basically said: “Look, I know this is crazy – I don’t even know your name – but what are you doing today?”
As it turns out she was interviewing for the PhD today and didn’t know when she’d be back. I was again torn with what to do. I had to decide on the spot – do I stay and hang out waiting for her to come back or do I race to the train station to catch my train?
I decided waiting for her would come off as too needy while getting her contact info and meeting her in Germany sounded more like a movie script.
So, I got her contact info and come hell or high water I will see her in Germany when I get there.
And then I ran for the train and caught it with one minute to spare. Now this leg feels right. The gut feeling I had is gone and I can go on this leg with peace of mind knowing this was the right decision.
As I boarded the train I had a huge smile.
I couldn’t believe I did that. I felt more alive than I have in years. It was an amazing feeling and even if nothing comes of it, the mere act of doing it was worth it.