1. Here we go again

Soon – about one more day – the first steps of my 11th journey to my loved Italy will be taken. From the 11:24 Intercity from Lithgow Station until the 20:12 Regionale drops me at Sarzana Station takes 42 hours and 48 minutes not counting the initial and final walks. In the matter of flights, especially the 14 hour leg to Dubai, all I can say is that I ENDURE them but that the pains evaporate by the time I reach the Immigration Desk. I am here. I am in love again, even though I know I will be disappointed by this dysfunctional, chaotic but perfectly beautiful country.

I again go through the thoughts of why I am doing this. I feel vaguely guilty about the waste, the privilege, the sheer vanity of it all. Whom am I benefiting? What am I achieving? Will it make me stronger, better, wiser? I can’t answer any of those questions; just hope.

Mainly I hope for a decision – whether I can move on and finish the Helen Cochrane biography or whether it is time to hand it on to someone else. If it is to be me, I will need an injection of energy and enthusiasm and new confidence unavailable to me at home. Sarzana may provide this.


There will be happy reunions with friends and colleagues, hikes in the National Park nearby with its views over the Gulf, walks along the waterside from Lerici to San Terenzo and back, ambling aimlessly through the alleys and piazzas of Sarzana. All these are delicious and familiar pleasures. New for this trip, I hope to walk from Aulla to Massa, a 40km section of ancient pilgrim route from Canterbury to Rome (the setting for Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’) and which passes through Sarzana.

Above all, I hope to start writing again. These last two years I have had trouble writing a shopping list; an email is a major challenge; writing creatively has been impossible. I am banking on my accommodation being conducive – a home away from home but in this most beautiful little Italian city, charming and honest.

Please let me know if you are reading this. I need the encouragement. You can leave a comment or click the ‘Follow’ button and you will be told by email when I put my next post up.


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7 responses to “1. Here we go again

  1. Jenny Cochrane

    Glad to hear you’re off on your travels again and I hope you find the inspiration you seek. Heck of a journey! I’m hoping to make a trip to the North East this summer visiting various Cochrane haunts.
    All the best.

  2. June and Ronnie

    Lovely to see that you survived your ‘practice walk’ Vaughan. Suspend all expectations, just trust that the universe is on your side and enjoy yourself. We fly to the UK 3 weeks today and we’re looking forward to reading more about your adventures 😊

  3. Jenny Lyons

    Hi VB

    Looking forward to hearing of your musings. I like June and Ronnie’s comment. Your curiosity and heart’s impulses are precious guides. Bon voyage and please give my regards to the Dubai desert as you pass 🙂

  4. kathrynsdrift

    Ciao, Vaughan. Come sta? The town is much bigger than I imagined! I thought you were settling in around one piazza and a few houses with a cafe. It appears to be well set out in a grid-like pattern. Easy to navigate, I’m guessing. Are you wearing your Helen Cochrane eyes as well, and seeing it as she would have? Have fun reacquainting yourself with this charming town.

  5. cathycoghlan

    Hi Vaughan
    Peter and I are following your journey..
    Sounds like you are home.
    What a great place to be staying.
    Not to mention the food and wine.
    Very envious.
    Happy journeying.
    Love Cathy and Peter xx

  6. raffaelli

    vanni! E’ così strano per me riconoscere i posti in cui vivo nelle tue parole! tutto mi sembra ancora più bello! non dimenticarci: siamo felici di scoprirci attraverso i tuoi occhi….
    love grazia e alfredo

    • Vaughan Bryers

      Che parole belle, grazie. Abbiamo incontrarci dalla buona fortuna e l’amore del Signore. Non vi dimentico mai!

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