There are some of us, a great many in fact, who started off on a journey to Italy, only to find ourselves in Holland. If you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, then please take a detour here and read the Guide Book: Welcome to Holland.
I don’t know about you, but when I got off that plane and found myself in Holland, I was mad. My booking said “Italy.” I had packed appropriate clothing for Italy, and I knew exactly what sights I wanted to see while I was there. All my friends were in Italy! How on earth could an airline be so stupid as to land me in Holland when my ticket specifically stated “Italy”?!
To start with, I was lost. Sure, I had a couple of friends who were in Holland, but they had been there a while and gotten used to it, they felt no need to go to Italy anymore. They commiserated with me and offered me advice on what to do and see now that I was in Holland. The airline was no help, nobody seemed to care what had happened to my travel plans, so it seemed I had better start liking Holland.
There’s a lot to like in Holland: I’ve always liked tulips; I’m a huge fan of Andre Rieu; windmills are very calming; and the history is exciting. Holland has its benefits. The point is . . . I signed up for Italy!
While I was longingly looking up tourist websites on the internet (stay with me here), I met some incredible mothers. They had once been stranded in Holland, too, after setting off on a journey to Italy. They had felt as I did – angry and frustrated, and peeved off enough to do something about it. A lot of these mothers were now in Italy, others were still on the way there. They all gave me hope that maybe I could get to Italy someday, too. I started asking questions, researching different ways of getting there, and finding out what travel restrictions and passport requirements there were.
I knew there was no point in trusting the airline to help me – they had let me down severely and were totally uncaring about my plight. So I started my journey slowly at first, making many frequent stops along the way. Some places are easier to travel through than others. Some places take you longer to pass through, frustrating you with the many delays in reaching your destination.
The thing is though – we can enjoy the journey. We can take in the new sights in each stop, make the most of the experience, and expand our horizons. As we learn smatterings of new languages, delve into the study of various architectures and immerse ourselves in a different culture, we grow as a person. We become more aware of our surroundings, more capable within ourselves, more able to stand up for our rights and those of others.
We make new friends – some in the countries we’re travelling through, and some that have already been here and can give us advice as to travel options. All through our journey though, we know that we will keep moving, we will keep striving to get to Italy. It is our passion, our dream and our entire life’s purpose right now. It is our guiding light that keeps us going even when the buses are no longer driving, the trains have left without us and everyone tells us to just stay and enjoy the scenery.
When you do get to Italy, will it be like you originally dreamed of? Who knows? It might be better than your wildest imaginings, or it might just be pleasantly relaxing after a long journey. You may have a party with friends who are waiting at the border for you. Maybe you’ve actually been travelling on the back roads for a while and didn’t even realise you were in Italy until you saw the Colosseum.
Don’t forget though – there are still people stuck in Holland. Some will be happy to stay there, and that’s their choice. Thousands more are arriving every day. They are often bewildered, lost and looking for answers. Give them a hand, help them start their own journey and encourage them to keep travelling on to Italy.
Peacemaker is a mum to six children. Three of her girls have been diagnosed with Asperger’s, and one of her sons has severe Autism. Their quirky family lives in Australia, where every day presents a new dietary challenge. When she’s not busy homeschooling her kids, Peacemaker can be found researching autism, or reading a relaxing autism biography.