“When you’re traveling with someone else, you share each discovery, but when you are alone, you have to carry each experience with you like a secret, something you have to write on your heart, because there’s no other way to preserve it.” ~Shauna NiequistSunday August 27, 2016
Chia, Sardinia, Italy
The Chugging of the bus’s engine , the rolling of the road lulled me to sleep. I woke up occasionally. The landscapes reminded me of Mexico more than Italy. There were Adobe type houses and cacti and dust everywhere.
Dropped me off at some dusty dirty intersection. People were milling about. All of them looking a little lost. There was a shop selling paninis and beer with a line out the door. I kept walking. Around the corner behind the shop there was a road that seemed to go in the direction of the ocean. Dried up blackberry bushes lined the road. Adobe style walls with beautiful purple flowers crawling over it, all covered in dust. In the distance I heard screams of laughter. That must be the beach. I sauntered down the road.
I came to the realization I wasn’t even sure if I got off at the Chia stop. Was there supposed to be w city? Was there supposed to be shops? It was quite wild. I kinda liked it. Then I realized I better pay attention to where I went so I could figure my way back to catch the bus later or tomorrow.
I happened upon. Cute little cove with pebbly sand and deep blue waters. On either side were cliffs. Climbable cliffs. Perfect. I grabbed a beer and headed up to see some gorgeous views. Off to the side there was a trail up to a tower. The tower was closed but on the other side there was a beach with crystal clear Emerald green waters. I wanted to go down there.
I stopped to charge my phone and get some espresso and ended up finding on the map a string of beaches a few miles down the road. Perfect. I was sure I could find a cozy spot to sleep there.
I walked down a two lane street with cars zooming by, in a hurry to get to or from the beach. Blackberry bushes and fig trees covered in dust lined the road. I occasionally stopped to munch on a few. My legs were covered in dust.
Finally I made it to the signs for Spiaggia Su Giudea and a dusty first road. I passed a horse ranch and more fig trees and dried up blackberries. Hills rolled in the distance. It was quite wild. Beautiful.
I came to the parking lot. It was quite pretty with strategically places cute little trees. I continued on and ended up stopping at a little table that was selling fruit and grabbed a peach for dinner.
The beach was expansive. Crowded. I bought a spritz and walked the length of it both ways. Not too exciting. The water didn’t even look that great. The sun was setting. The booths selling beer and snacks were turning up their music, I could feel the vibrations from the bass below my feet.
I remembered a little rocky outcropping by where I started. It jutted out into the sea. I was sure no one would venture that way after dark and it seemed to be far enough out there I could see the sunrise and sunset.
I climbed along the rocks to the end and sat down. You could still hear faint echoes of the music over the gentle rolling of the baby waves. Coming from the west coast, I found it difficult to actually call them waves, but that’s what they called them.
The sky put on its sunset show for me. The sky got dark. The music continued. The stars came out.
My whole trip thus far replayed in my head. All the Couchsurfers I stayed with and beautiful people I met along the way. I wondered how they were. The places I’ve been. The experiences. The things I’ve learned. The hurtful things. The heartbreaking things. The beautiful things. The magical things. I’ve come a long way. It seemed like years ago I was back in Seattle boarding that plane to come here. No, my trip hasn’t gone as planned, but I liked it better this way. I wished I could personally thank all of them for everything they did. Good or bad. Because look where I’m at today. Sleeping under the some shimmering stars. Falling asleep to the water lapping at the rocks. Surrounded by pristine Caribbean type waters.
I laid down, curled on the hard rock. It was a struggle to find a comforTable position. The lighthouse in the far distance made a gentle sweep of light on the rocks above me. I counted them. About 30 per minute. I found all the constellations I knew and counted shooting stars. They never cease to amaze me. And I fell asleep gazing at Orion’s Belt, his figure stretched out, close to the moon, looking as though he were about to knock it with his bow.
I woke up with a start, shivering. The stars were even more intense. The music had stopped. All I heard were waves. It had grown cold. My mind went into panic mode. I tried to comfort myself. Talk myself down. No one gets hyperthermia and dies after just one night. I wondered if the fact I was in the warm sun all day and now exposed to all this cold and wind… Could that make it worse? I mentally scolded myself for not bringing leggings to slip on. I moved spots, trying to find a place protected from the wind. I curled up again, my back exposed to the wind, my knees to my chest. So alone. So cold.
I must have drifted off because the next thing I remember was looking over and see the skyline over the water illuminated in all the colors. I smiled. I made it through the night! And would be gifted with a glorious sunrise followed by much needed warmth.
Beaches in the morning are quite peaceful. There were leftovers, forgotten toys and towels scattered about. I had the beach to myself. I saw the beds that were outside one of the bars that you could rent and I got up on it. It was a cool feeling. Having the lonely beach all to myself. Just 12 hours earlier it was packed.
People started arriving. I left my secret spot. I looked pout at the water. Last night it seemed just like a regular beach. Like any beach I could have seen in California. But this morning the water was crystal clear. Like in the pictures. Stunning.
I had bought a bikini the day before. It has been years since I’ve worn one. But walking around on these beaches. In Barcelona. In Italy. There were people of all ages. All sizes. All body types.
Yes I have a gigantic scar riding across my belly. I always feared taking off my shirt for guys that once they saw it they would turn away in disgust. That if i wore a bikini people would stare at me like I was sons horrific creature. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I had put it on that morning. Behind the rocks. I giggled at the contrast between my belly and my arms. Super tan and dark vs white as a pearl it seemed. It was fine when no one was there. Now the beach was getting crowded. I knew I had to head back to Cagliari soon to get my bags and some food and head to the ferry
I challenged myself to walk along the beach. In front of everyone. I was nervous, shaky at first. I looked around out of the corner of my eye. No one looked at me like I was a monster. No one turned up their nose in disgust. People went along with their day. I got a few looks of curiosity. But my white scarred belly did not seem to offend anyone.
I have grown to accept my body. Even tho I’ve been hospitalized many times for losing weight to try to get rid of the bulges around my scar. My body is nearly immune to hangovers. I can eat spicy food without a problem. It takes a lot for me to get too hot or too cold. I can hike with no shoes or socks up mountains. I can walk miles and miles through foreign cities and swim in all the lakes. My body is just my vessel in this life. It’s my soul that’s most important. My spirit. And I think I’m doing pretty good.