The Swiss Alps are Alive with the Sound of Music: A Eurotrip for the Ages: Part 2
Welcome back to Into the Forests I Go, my little home on the internet to share my musings as an artist, writer, and especially, as someone in a beautiful country far away from her home.
Since we last spoke, The Scientist and I performed in a prison - livin' out those Johnny Cash dreams one day at a time, y'all - where I got to debut a new song. Life has been filled with adventure, overwhelm, and doing my best to pace myself in the middle of some really big moments.
But the last time we spoke, we were talking about steep, narrow roads, donkeys, and snaking my way through northern Italy on the back of a 48-year-old Italian motorcycle. Such is life when you're me, I guess, and you say yes to the things that scare you.
Today, we're going to talk about my favorite part of our Eurotrip, beyond the bolognese and views in Italy: Switzerland. I'd been to Switzerland as a child, but all I remembered were St. Bernards and huge mountain peaks, the end of our international trip around Europe.
Going back to these places as an adult, as I mentioned in my last post, has been illuminating - like getting to add a new layer of colored sand to a glass bottle.
I'd originally told my husband that I wanted to stay in the valleys of the Swiss Alps, not going up into any mountain passes. I wasn't worried about his driving aptitude, but something had me nervous about the whole thing - a different country, an old but reliable motorcycle. So where did we end up?
On mountain passes.
And you know what?
Despite needing to get out of my comfort zone, the payoff and reward were massive and - with complete honesty - life-changing. It changed my life.
We started off making our way to the medieval Swiss town of Gruyères, famous for its cheese and impressive castle. Looking around, I couldn't help but be reminded of my beloved Colorado, a surreal feeling that didn't let up for a good while. I didn't waste any time trying this cheese via shared fondue, a worthy lunch if I ever had one, and then we were off to our next location.
Back to the winding mountain passes. I did my best to look up and down in awe and not fear, with some switchbacks and zig-zags inspiring more deep breathing than others. I get the chills even now thinking about the beauty of what I saw. As we ascended higher and higher, the Motoguzzi struggling to keep up with the altitude (honestly relatable), the views just kept getting more and more epic - glaciers appearing, grounding yet lifted peaks for miles.
As I've mentioned in the past, I have a few tools up my sleeve when I'm up in the air feeling out of control, and one of those involves listening to a particular live Hillsong album. As someone who's not Christian, I can't relate to their particular passion around Jesus (although hey, he was cool), but I deeply relate to the earnest themes of surrender and giving yourself over to something greater. So, as we traversed these mountain paths, some with guard rails and some inexplicably not, I knew what I had to do: put on this album.
We got to the highest point of all near Wassen, and as I sang along to this album I know so well, my eyes nearly fell out of my skull and I immediately started crying from joy and awe. I couldn't believe I'd said yes to this, that I was viewing it on the back of a motorcycle, so little barrier between me and these mountains. In those moments, I was so preoccupied with the spiritual awe and protection I felt that I superseded my anxieties. I was just there, experiencing it completely and fully.
There was a huge lesson in this for me, as I mentioned above. While originally explicitly stating I didn't want to travel on these passes, they changed me at my core and reminded me to trust that I can handle these big moments. Honestly, it's a reminder I need right now more than ever, and maybe you do too.
Not only can I do hard things, they may end up being my favorite part of a motorcycle trip. They get me to waterfalls and lakes, up mountain passes and back down again. When I felt nervous on the road, I'd look for these beautiful purple flowers (pictured). Playing this visual game grounded me, reminding me I was safe in that moment. And this is how I end up doing things like moving around the world - bravely, courageously, one moment at a time.
I don't really know if it takes a certain type of personality to make these decisions. I'm certainly the only person in my family jumping up to move around the world. I do value growth and getting out of my comfort zone in healthy ways, and many of the people I've met who have moved to other countries (or cities) seem to have similar outlooks. I'm either just brave enough or just foolish enough to dare to do it.
Either way, at some point, you have to get out of your own way somehow and you might get to experience stunning views, awe, and joy, to walk right alongside your daily rituals, mundane tasks, and everyday choices. They're all important.
What decisions have you made that scared or concerned you at first, but ended up being completely worth it in the end? I'm curious to know.
And as per usual, feel free to subscribe at the bottom of this page to receive a bi-weekly email from me on whatever's on my heart that day! And as always, I'll see you next time here at Into the Forests I Go - iki pasimatymo - see you soon!