I’m now at Verona train station, Porta Nuova, waiting. The train will leave in 30 minutes. After walking around the station for an espresso, I was forced to conclude that I could only have one at McDonalds, an irony considering this country is famous for it’s expressos, cappuccinos, macchiatos and so on. I skip the caffeine. It’s a matter of principles: I’m just not having a McDonalds coffee in Italy…
Sitting on a cold chair indoors to escape the cold fog outside, I listen to a playlist I collected only yesterday night, with the songs I’ve been listening to. I named it Italian Autumn. It makes me look back. It’s been a month since that day on the boat from Santorini to Athens.
I wrote (of course…) a lot in that day. Long story short, one month ago I found myself alone in a boat to Athens, with no cellphone, after receiving an email alert warning me my return flight was to be canceled due to strike.
Only 3 people in the world knew where I was: my parents and Ana, who I left behind in Fira. I knew no one in the boat, although I talked for a while with my seat neighbor – Mia, a Japanese girl who left University to travel around the world alone for 6 months. The meteorites shower had been extensively announced in the Internet social media, so at night I went to the deck, listening to music and staring at the sky (I didn’t spot a single falling star, by the way, but I guess the boat lights made that unlikely). And I felt a happiness high. Happiness in it’s purest state. Something I did not feel during the whole trip.
On the inside, the train is warm. I take a blue seat by the window and prepare for a slow travel, since it’s a regional train and they announced nine stops before Bologna. The autumn colors are hidden by the mist and I can only appreciate a few hundred meters of the landscape that moves surprisingly fast in front of my eyes.
As you might have noticed, I love my job. In fact I even find it somehow offensive to call it a job. A job is when you go to a boring place, every week day, from 9 to five, because you need to make a living. I go to my hospital almost on a daily basis, even if it’s “only” to check on a patient. I can spend weekends, holidays and nights there, sometimes for more than 30h straight. And more often than not, I feel a (even if different) happiness high at least for a few seconds.
So I was forced to face this problem when I returned from Greece. I knew I could have those highs at work. But the only other way of feeling them seemed to be in a circumstance that was absolutely out of reach in my everyday life. I mean, you cannot just open a door and step into the North Pole after you leave work.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m mainly a happy person. I love what I do, I have the best parents and friends. I sometimes stop and wonder how can I even find time to rest between shifts, rotations, works, dinners, meetings, activities. But if you ever felt this pure happiness high, you’ll empathize: it’s like a drug. Once you’ve felt it, once you know you can get there, specially if you did it solo,… You want to figure out how to return.