So, here in NYC I’m on a countdown to Italy. Yes, Italy. Just before Thanksgiving, I started receiving a “calling” straight from God. (You can call it the Universe, the Force or the Great Spirit in the Sky, whatever you like, but I’m more of a Blues Brothers kinda gal.) This message shooting me in the head was telling me I needed to get out of NYC and spend sometime elsewhere. I thought, “Yeah, right. Okay God, if that’s what you really want, make it happen.” I can be quite bold in these little conversations. He can read my mind anyway, right?
Two days later my best friend calls from Texas to tell me she has been feeling compelled for exactly two days to tell me that I needed to go away somewhere for a little while. Funny. That was message number two. What’s up with the twos? I proceeded to throw it back in God’s court. “Where and how???” I asked.
Two days (seriously) after this, I’m on a train to Pleasantville, NY with a friend who was in a play up there yonder. He asked me “Elise, are you happy?” And I said, “Happy is a strong word.” He told me that he was feeling like he wanted to help me in some way. He knew I hadn’t been in the best state of mind (a work hazard for most writers, I’m afraid) and I told him about this “call” to go on a trip. He then said, “Why don’t you go to Italy. I have a free place for you to stay there. You’d have your own apartment in Cinque Terre.” The Force, nudged me and whispered in my ear, “Don’t you dare say no.” It took me all but five seconds before I answered, “That would be amazing. I’m going to take you up on that. Thank you.”
The next day I called my friend who owns an AMAZING travel company, Navigate 360, and told him about what I was going to do. I thought he might be able to give me some advice on flights and such, but he did even better. Again in a magical two days after our initial conversation, he called me and said, “How about you work for me as a writer and photojournalist while you’re in Italy.” “Are you serious?” I asked. “Yes,” he replied, “I’ll be your sponsor.”
Miraculously, in the amount of a few weeks time, the one thing that I have been trying to do in a more serious way for what seems like eons all came together. It all started with that first incoming message and true to any reported miracle, every bit of it panned out. Now I just had to go. I would leave in less than two months. I spoke the most baby step Italian known to mankind, and I was risking near everything for this opportunity including work in TV. I didn’t even have an adapter for my laptop charger. What was I doing? I began to doubt.
I questioned the Big Guy once again before crawling into bed one night whether I should go to Italy now or wait. The next morning, I received an email from my first contact describing the things I would be photographing and writing about. It was as if someone was designing something specifically for me, and this person didn’t know me from a hole in the ground. I got my answer. I was going.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a writer. I write about food and travel and life’s journeys. I am no stranger to photography or these mediums, but somewhere out there, I felt a calling to make this THE thing I do. Distractions and other complications be damned, it was time to be full-on.
I can’t help but think of the quote, “when you let your light shine, you give other’s the permission to do the same.” Maybe that’s true, or maybe I’m learning to be less of a chicken shit. Maybe, we just need a push here and there and good friends to remind us who we are. Whatever the reason, I’m headed to Italy, writing about it, photographing it. It’s gonna involve lots of good food and interesting people. I hope you tag along. “Besides, I’m on a mission from God,” and it all starts in 11 days.
The Galavant Girl
(aka Elise McMullen)