The locum life is great for many reasons. I get to travel to lots of different places, discover beautiful parts of the country and have unforgettable adventures. One of the downsides is that I’m usually on my own and being a solo traveller does come with its own challenges. A magical moment is never quite as magical without someone to share it with and the funny story never comes out as quite as good in the retelling as it sounded in my head. Plus, I have to take a hell of a lot of awful selfies in order to get the occasional good photo!
I have been lucky enough to meet lots of new people along the way, but if there is one thing missing from much of my life, it is old friends. I’m talking about the type of friends that go waaaaaaaaaay back – who knew you before you even really knew yourself. Friends who know the context and history of your life so well that there is no need to explain, justify or falsify yourself in any way. They’ve seen you at your best and at your absolute worst many times over and still love you just the way you are. Even when it’s been years since you last saw each other, you pick up exactly where you left off without skipping a beat. It’s a rare treat to be in such a comfortable, judgement-free-zone and very restorative for the spirit.
Sadly, even on the rare occasion when I am home in Perth, those friends are few and far between, with many having left to pursue adventures interstate or overseas in recent years. I see them rarely, speak to them sometimes, but think of them often. Although they are so far away, they continue to be close to my heart and I miss them like crazy.
So, when a group of my old school and uni mates proposed that we convene in some exotic location for a mass 30th birthday celebration this year, I jumped at the chance to catch up with everyone. Never did I imagine that we would get our shit together enough to actually pull it off, but somehow we managed to get 17 busy professionals from London, Oxford, Geneva, Singapore, Melbourne, Canberra and Perth to converge in sunny Sicily for a week-long reunion.
Italy was, of course, blissful. Beautiful warm weather, delicious food, gorgeous scenery, quaint towns, interesting historical sites, ridiculously good looking men… It was particularly handy travelling with a professional somelier and a bunch of very decent cooks to see to all our food and wine needs!
We even had the amazing experience of a 5-hour hike on the volcanic Mt Etna, including sliding down a steep 700m decline, laughing hysterically while getting completely covered in ash and having one of the best days of our lives. But none of it would have been half as good without my buddies by my side to share the experiences. I’m sure that we will be telling and re-telling the stories from that trip for years to come.
There are no words to adequately express my love and gratitude for my oldest friends, but thank you to you all for the difference you have made to my life. I also feel extremely lucky in recent times to have met some awesome new friends who I know will become good friends into the future. When my nomadic journey eventually ends and I find somewhere to settle down, I look forward to new friends becoming old friends who I can share a whole new chapter of life with. That is what truly makes la vita bella.