About six months ago I arrived in the seaside town of Rimini. It was completely by chance. I had miscalculated the distance and booked accommodation in a town over an hour away from my planned destination. A miscalculation that has changed my life and brought me back to a place that feels like home.
I can't put my finger on what it is about Rimini. Perhaps my eccentric flatmate? A local photographer who's motto is: "No Panic". Or the apartment itself; airy, spacious, characterful, and inhabited by two equally eccentric cats. Maybe it's just Rimini; the friendly people, morning runs to the beach, evenings spent ambling through the ancient town.
Whatever it is, Rimini brings me happiness, freedom, and adventure.
So, last night I bid farewell to London; cocktails at The Gibson (my new favourite cocktail bar). And this morning I boarded a flight to Bologna, arriving with two suitcases – the sum total of all my worldly possessions – to start my new adventure.
The morning fog still hung over Bologna when I arrived, the sun straining to pierce it's veil. My flatmate was only due at 2pm, so I dragged my bags up the stone streets, toward the main square, watching the city come to life, feeling a sense of excitement, a sense of peace, a sense of tranquility. The night before, over a cocktail that had smelled a lot like Tiger Balm, my friend had tried to convince me to move to Thailand with her, citing peace and tranquility as reasons to relocate to Southeast Asia. I'm glad I'm here in Italy instead.
When my flatmate picked me up in Bologna, he greeted me like an old friend who'd finally come home – not some chance Airbnb guest.
On the drive home, drifting between lanes at high speed, we caught up on each others news. Gigi the cat had kidney problems, but is better now; he feels my choice in local restaurants is awful – can't I see the layers of dirt on the walls. He will educate me on the local haunts, in exchange I will teach his friend Francesca English. I suspect that Francesca's English is better than my Italian. A situation I intend remedying by adding Italian lessons to my daily routine.
When I made a conscious decision to choose experiences over possessions a few years ago, I was seeking happiness. I felt that by having less baggage, I'd have the opportunity to discover a different kind of happiness ... the kind of happiness that brings peace, the kind of happiness that changes your soul. I feel like I've found that happiness in Rimini.
A new journey begins, making a life in Italy.