Finally: wine around the globe is starting. I am on my way! Full of excitement and nervousness, I am sitting on the train that takes me from Mainz to Mannheim and then on to Straßbourg, from where I will catch a bus to Westhoffen, Northern Alsace, France. The first stop on my wine around the globe tour.
The train moves between the river Rhein and Rheinhessen’s wine hills, passing one of the most prestigous wine growing areas, The Roter Hang in the village of Nierstein, before fully emerging into the hearf of Rheinhessen. The sun is shining, I couldn’t have asked for a better start!
Feelings to embrace: I’m sad and I cry
Embracing something new also means leaving something else behind. In my case family and friends. I spent last night with my grandma and my sister who took good care of me before letting me go. It is not easy to say goodbye, knowing I won’t be able to take part in many upcoming events such as birthdays, Christmas, the coming birth of my niece or nephew or just getting together for dinner or drinks. I won’t be able to see friends to hang out with in the park or drink a glass of wine together.
This is what I leave behind: the many aspects, possibilities and comforts of friendship and family. People whose lives I’m part of and people who are part of my life. I would romantize travel and be dishonest to myself and the people who care for me if I didn’t recognize the feelings of sadness and grief in the moment of parting. And this is how I feel despite the adventures that lie ahead of me: sad, that I won’t be able to see so many beloved people for quite some time. I’m sad and I cry.
My personal compass: Purpose, optimism and help
But at the same time, I’m also excited at the thought of the upcoming adventures I will experience, people I will meet and things I will learn. I feel a little like an anthropologist or an adventurer from the 18th century who sets out to learn about distant lands and cultures. Or even a little like Columbus must have felt when he set out to discover America. Where am I going? What am I about to experience? And what the hell did I think about all this in the first place? My distant land, however, is not a geographical entity but rather the whole world of wine and wine growing.
Putting Columbus into the arena: What is my compass? What helps me to navigate and orientate? Surely, I have all the technology at hand. Where there is Wi-Fi there is everything I need and all my questions can be answered. I will not get lost in the same sense as Columbus did. I will not accidently reach let’s say South Africa if I wanted to go to Argentina in the first place. I guess what will help me navigate and orientate is the purpose I see for myself in this whole endeavour: see new places and satisfy my thirst for new knowledge. My head needs an update and I am so ready to press the update button.
What will also help is my optimism and belief that everything will turn out well in the end. Some people call me naive, some people point out to the dangers that I might encounter. And yes, there will probably be dangers or situations in which I won’t feel comfortable. But this can happen everywhere: very far away from home, close to home or even at home. Being adventurous does not mean being careless and headless.
With a little help of my friends
And finally, I would be nothing, this whole trip would be nothing, without the people who encourage me, motivate me, support me, teach me. People like you, who are interested to read this post to the very end. People who brought me forward with their useful questions, people who gave me strength when I wasn’t sure how to proceed and people who think this whole idea is interesting enough so that can spare some time and join me for a read! Thank you!