Then something changed. It was at the start of our second week as we were walking down the street and suddenly noticed that there was hardly anyone else around and that a couple of familiar and previously busy hotels had all of their shutters and blinds closed. By coincidence the previous few days had been a little chiller too with overcast skies and nocturnal thunderstorms so we'd stayed inside a little more. The last time we had ventured to the beach it felt like we were in a high season Mediterranean beach resort, now we felt like we were in an out of season UK seaside town. It might sound like I'm being overly dramatic but it really was quite eerie how overnight the change seemed.
Summer, it seemed, had gone south overnight but no one had told us. Where had been our memo?
For example, we had chosen to spend June and most of July in the UK clearing up our old lives instead of travelling. Also, we had chosen to leave the Swiss Alps to go to Egypt in mid August when the sun had been high over the peaks. Had we really done the right things? The mountain areas we love are only 'open' for the activities we enjoy the most for few months of the year and we'd chosen to be elsewhere for much of that.
Thankfully after over 2 years now of self reflection and meditative practice we have become far more adept at catching thoughts like these before they run away with themselves and instead have learnt to sit with them, journal them and try and pull out the lesson. It took us a few days to catch ourselves 'wishing things were different' but we did and have come to realise that to help us remain more mindful and accepting of things as they are (in addition to our existing mindfulness and meditative practice) what we need to do in future is to commit to our actions more and define what we want to get out of experiences beforehand.
Looking back this has often happened with past decisions in our lives. Sometimes, by telling ourselves we were going with the flow and therefore not fully appreciating why we chose to do certain things over others we never fully committed to them. This is something we want to address in the future, including on our decision of where to next?
There have also been other lessons as well, like not romanticising the idea of places we choose not to go. Had we gone to the mountains directly from Venice, for example, and had thunderstorms there in the past we would likely have wished we'd gone to the beach after all. Yet here we were having those same thunderstorms. Just seeing how quickly things can and do change in one place, from high summer to mirky chill overnight, further reminds us not to lose ourselves in stories that we could be better of elsewhere.
We can only be where we are in the moment after all. All the wishing in the world doesn't change that.
And do you know what, for all the unsettled feelings (and now gratitude for the lessons it has bought us) summer is making a last gasp effort again as well. After a week of chill the sun is now back out, not quite as warm as before but warm enough to enjoy the few remaining loungers on the beach until it's time to decide where to go next.