“Living in modern times has turned us into watchers, placing a sliver of distance between us and everything we meet.” Mark Nepo
One of the magical things about Italy is that you do not watch, you are completely engaged. And it is magic. There is something so compelling and engrossing that you simply are part of the moment, completely immersed in the place, fully alive. It is wonderful.
And Italy manages to do this in spite of all the things that “place a sliver of distance” in modern day life. When we began our trips to Italy 8 years ago, most of the many ways that we now use to “connect” didn’t exist. The only thing really, was the Internet cafe. Nobody brought a phone, you didn’t have devices like smart phones or computers that could hook up to wifi. Today, many people travel with these devices and use them.
Still, it is amazing how Italy removes that “sliver of distance” and how those
means of connection get turned on less and less the longer you stay. You slowly begin to recognize that by plunging into the tiny screen in front of your face, you are missing an amazing world of life all around. And that life is so rich, and joyful, and engrossing, and compelling that you simply do not want to miss it. It feels good. Shoot, it’s life.
All the ways we have to connect today – phones, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, et al – serve a purpose. They also do turn us into “watchers.” And we were meant to live not watch. I love Italy for bringing us back to life. Slowly, inexorably as you spend time in this country you find life. What a gift!