Under the Tuscan sun

August 2010

As the sun shines on the pool and I swim just one more length, I contemplate the nature of the world around me. It’s a fascinating world, chopping and challenging everyone I know. Whether on holiday or at home, at work or at play, in big business or small local affairs, whether major corporate boards or individual entrepreneurs like me, young or old, unusual choices are occurring every day.

Let me explore why I say this…

The barometer of our lives is very variable and whether you believe in it or not, there is huge amount of planetary action going on in our solar system. May be this is influencing the magical mixture of life where so much uncertainty is counter-balanced by the natural energy flow of life and the choices we make every moment. When I observe everything from my cash flow to my friendships, from family to fortunes, I see life as a total integration of interconnected parts. From ordinary life to current economic pressures (my own and others) through to political uncertainty (everywhere), there is plenty of mayhem over the summer month of August.

In every aspect this is a time of unrest, so taking August out is a perfect time to re-energise and realise the space we all need to retune to nature and view ourselves as others might from other cultures. I love making that choice to go away and see how other countries live their lives. Maybe there are alternative life styles for us all and about a more sustainable choice day to day that adds meaning and passion to who we are. We so often work too hard for the sake of something that is not worth having, is only material and limited by time.

In my own life, many choices are occurring that make me smile…and make me sigh… as I trust the unknown path ahead. My two week holiday in Tuscany is perfectly chosen as ever to come when I needed a rest, a renewal, a rejuvenation of body and soul. With friendship and love being core to my existence, I was delighted at the synchronicity of two female friends, Mary and Dawn, both inviting me to go on holiday to Italy and choosing Tuscany to be the best place to be.

A truly magical land, fresh and green due a wetter spring than usual, the Tuscan landscape is verdant and lush. Our first week together with Dawn’s wonderful family, a great crowd spanning generations and experiences, had so much fun and laughter, engagement and exploration of each other and the Italy around us.

The wonders of Sienna and the Palio horse race, the tiny streets crowded with enthusiastic people, waving flags to celebrate their communities. The energy was magnetic. Another day we took the train to Florence and as we rode through the streets of Florence and climbed the steps to view the city, I revelled in seeing this beautiful city once more. Our feet weary, we bartered gifts in the market, walked the riverside and photographed the Duomo. We savoured the Italian way of life and loved it!

Then some days swimming in our pool, we really start to unwind. We eat and drink, play games and laugh in the surroundings of our temporary villa home, Villa Migliarina, in Bucine area. As the days unfold, the sunshine gets hotter and hotter, and the conversations delicious along with the food!

During my first week, my girlfriend Mary and I set off for an adventure one day to find a castle. We drive our little pale blue Fiat across steep winding roads; see amazing views and the true magnificence of Tuscany. A patchwork of rolling fields and tall Cyprus trees, the roads take us cross country. That day, we make new friends, with Tommaso who owns the castle, Jane and Alison who assist him running this as a conference centre and Ill Borgo, a high spec development of executive homes with views to die for and furnished immaculately. We are most welcomed to return and vow to do so.

We then adventure onto Rome overnight and stand inside St Peter’s Basilica. A hugely impressive church yet, for me, a bit too awesome rather than inspiring. The flavour of Rome lingers still on my breath, hot and wonderful and with a promise to return, our coins in Trevi fountain to be sure.

In the second week, my holiday slows down a pace and the choices arise again – to linger around the pool over many hot days and sweltering nights, BBQs, take journeys to natural spas, hilltops and wondrous views, to see Italy grow on me in every sense.

Returning to the UK and prospects of economic strain, colder weather and tube strikes, reminds me of the very versatility of our world, choices once again. The idyllic nature of a hot Tuscan summer doesn’t necessary mean I would live there all year. I love my homeland and whatever the nature of the next few months I face them renewed and with a wider viewpoint than my own front door. Adventure lingers in my mind and the choices brought to me through travel yet again excite me for the future ahead.

Our world is shrinking in front of our eyes; we can find vast knowledge and learn anything on a screen, within hours we are in another land. We can speak across technology and see each other live on voice over computer, mobile technology and tele-presence screens. We may soon be able to beam ourselves across the universe, who knows what choices that will bring!!

…and yet there is no place like home whatever the adventure – where loved ones wait to greet us back into their embrace.

Back afresh, I reflect on the nature of choice – even over a holiday break, and soon it shimmers and disappears, reduced to the happy snaps and warm memories, held in my own computer mind for ever.