Staying Upright, Moving Forward, Part One
Image by Monsterkoi from Pixabay

Staying Upright, Moving Forward, Part One

Steven Lee Gilbert

How to Pilgrimage

For life to have meaning there must be purpose and ours was not simply to live in Sicily. We wanted to share it with others. Its rugged charm, its bronzed and untamed landscape, its culture, its breathtaking beauty. And so we had come with a plan. A good one, or so we had thought.

Like any undertaking, moving across the world and opening a business came with plenty of reservations. Doubts about practicality, sustainability, the financial commitment, the many things of which we knew nothing about. There was also the fear of failing at starting something new in a country in which only one of us had ever lived (Italy, not Sicily) and where we knew very little of the business culture and had very limited resources that could offer support.

What we did know was that we were moving and that we needed and wanted to work and once that decision was made it became like riding a bicycle, the only way to stay upright was to keep moving forward.

To be certain, the occasion was going to be very different from when we opened a bakery. In eastern North Carolina, we’d had support, we’d had a great product, we’d had experience and spoke the language, both figuratively and literally. Most importantly, we had an attentive audience just waiting for us to arrive. Here, in Sicily, we were strangers and strangers in Sicily have always, and for very good reason, been seen as a threat.

We had not come though, like so many others, to conquer, but to become part of them, and that, too, describes this culture, one of a land and people who have chosen to preserve and protect the past, not raze and destroy it, and in that way moving here, starting a business, seemed—and still does seem—like an opportunity to not just to start over but to carry with us the experiences and things we cherished from our own history, shaping and folding them into something new, but with old, ancient even, undertones of resilience, spirit, and strength.

Like any pilgrimage, it presented a future that was easy to imagine but difficult to foresee. We needed something that could hopefully serve as a beacon, a waypoint on which to set our long course and start walking. We needed a shining, guiding star.

To be continued…

Stay tuned for Part Two of this post, coming Thursday. If you'd like to have it delivered to your Inbox, please subscribe to either the paid or free version of The Revelate.