I have just finished a month of manual labour and it was hard. Well, 5 hours of manual labour per day ranging in difficulty, but as I said before it was hard. There have been some physically challenging times when I thought I may not be able to do this, which is absolutely due to having just spent almost a year in a desk job and not committing to much exercise during that time. Yes it has gotten easier as time has gone on, and luckily I have a strong boyfriend to lean on, and as I feel my body getting fitter I am thankful for all the raking and weeding and pushing wheelbarrows up and down hills. Although I am grateful for this daily workout, the thing I am most grateful for is the way my mind has reacted to working in this environment.
When I was in my desk job I was stressed, point blank, and it got to a point where my partner was noticing a big difference in me. I was snapping so easily at people over nothing, which is not me at all, and I let everything get to me. The job got to me. Not just the job but the lifestyle, I had a hell of a commute which took an hour and a half on a good day. There is nothing worse than having a super stressful day at work, having to stay behind for hours to sort it out and then having your train home cancelled, having to wait for another hour to board a train you can barely get on because it’s so crowded, then it crawling along at a snail’s pace whilst you hold your breath because you’re in someone’s armpit and you feel like you’re going to faint. By the time you get home, cram something in your face and get to sleep it’s time to start all over again. Don’t get me wrong, I loved living in London, but there are definitely a few things I’m going to do differently next time. Over the last month as my body and my mind have unwound from the city life I have noticed a big change, I’m not stressed anymore, I’m not angry I’m not snapping and I’m happy. I put this down to manual labour, 5 hours in the warm Italian sun with a view that looks like a painting has allowed me to differentiate what is important and what is not. However, the biggest lessons I have learnt since coming to Lake Garda have come from our hosts.
It is very rare in life to meet a person who truly inspires you, and even rarer to meet this person and be luckily enough to spend a good amount of time learning from them. A role model, a person you think of when something bad happens, what would they do in this situation? Well I met mine at Villa Castelletto. It’s cheesy but I wish I had better words to describe these perfect people, and just how much I learnt from them. These are people that had a dream and actually made it happen, it took them 13 years and a ridiculous amount of hard graft, but they did it. These people are living their dream. The best part is that they never take it for granted, they are at a point where they could simply maintain the land and it would still be amazing, however they continue to strive for something better. Not only are they constantly seeking to improve their garden, Villa, and produce, but also themselves. Our female host SOMEHOW made time to study English, a whole other language to her already fluent 2/3. Another word for every single word. She also paints, cooks, bakes, studies bee keeping and sews – all as hobbies. Easily the hardest working person I have ever met, she doesn’t stop – ever. And she is super happy, because she loves every aspect of her life having built it from nothing. Her and her husband have been together for over 30 years and they are so in love, so passionate and ready as ever to take on the world. She told me once in broken English “I think (growing old together) is beautiful.”. I agree, and if I am half the person Hildegard is when I am her age, I will be a very accomplished person indeed.
Nike got it right: just do it. That is what I have learned from my hosts, because if you want it, you will do it. The reason you haven’t achieved your dream yet (or at least are not on the way to achieving it) is because you don’t want it enough, I truly believe that. So maybe you are using the word ‘dream’ too quickly to describe something you would perhaps like to achieve if the opportunity came along, or maybe your dream was formed for the wrong reasons. Alternatively, (like me) you’re still not sure what your dream is, and that’s fine. That’s why I’m travelling and taking some time to get to know myself better, that way I can decide what I truly want from life. But I’ll tell you something, when I do discover my dream I’ll be ready to grab it thanks to all the lessons I have learnt on the way.