Riding Bikes and Feeling Free: Isole di Favignana

5 Sep

“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.”
–Isak Dinesen


Today, I woke up to a friend’s email linking to a HuffPo Women’s article titled What’s Your Joy Trigger?. The 13-year-old, pubescent kid (or 26-year-old single woman, you choose) in me thought: “This must be about choosing the right vibrator.” But of course, I remembered that the friend who pointed me to this article had never failed to recommend readings that inspired me in some way. And to be honest, vibrators are far from inspiring or awakening anything in me.

Diligently, I went ahead and read the post from the comfort of my bed, thanks to my iPhone. It turns out the author writes about finding the “little” things in life that make us happy, so that we can turn to them when feeling hopeless. These are defined as joy triggers.

Reading about joy triggers brought me back to Favignana,  one of the Aegadian islands of the coast of Sicily that I visited this summer. During my stay in Erice, I woke up one day feeling adventurous and wanted to relax and let go of the WiFi access that kept me connected to my work Blackberry.

After briefly consulting a Lonely Planet guide that I borrowed from a friend, I decided to hop on a ferry from the port of Trapani with nothing more than a bikini, a beach towel, my camera and a book.

About five minutes after finding a seat onboard, one of the crew members came over looking for the lady sitting next to me. He told her that it was OK for her to come now and pointed at a door that read “Crew Members Only”.
Somehow, said crew member thought I was traveling with her and told me to come over as well. Of course, I followed him and it turns out that I ended up riding with the crew and scoring a prime photo spot onboard the Siremar ferry.

Castello della Colombaia Trapani

Castello della Colombaia, Trapani

After a quick stop at the island of Levanzo, I was on my way to something I can now define as one of my joy triggers.

Levanzo Island

I arrived in Favignana and immediately asked if I could walk to the beach. I was told by a local fisherman that I could, but that I’d be better off riding a bike. I noticed my question puzzled him a bit. (How did I not know that you must ride a bike or scooter in Favignana!)

Remembering that the point of this day trip was to let go, I ignored the fact that I hadn’t been on a bike since 2008 along with my fear of being hit by a careless driver, and went ahead and rented a bike for the day (just like everyone else on the island).

I started my journey without really knowing where I wanted to end up and made it a point to not care about it either. Sometimes, it is better not to trace any routes at all.

I rode my bike around the island, stopping a few times for pictures and a quick dip in the cold Mediterranean Sea. I could not feel more at peace and happy with my life until…

I was almost run over by (mean) unsupervised cattle. It is hard to explain how I escaped death by cattle, but I managed to do it and then burst into laughter, all by myself.

Unfortunately, I cannot take a ferry to Favignana whenever I’m in need of a joy trigger. But what I can do, is look at my pictures from that trip and remember how I felt while riding my rented bike around Favignana.  Minus the cattle incident, that is.


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