Hello! Ciao from Tuscany!
Please excuse the delay in my communications, for I have been wandering with this lovely mug from Amsterdam to Paris, Beaune (in Burgundy), Marseilles, Golfo dei Poeti (coastal Italy), the marble mountains of Massa-Carrara, olive groves of Marremma, Italian Alps in Aosta, and Florence. Tomorrow I leave for cycling adventures with my brother in Sardegna and Sicily, and in July I think Greece.
For now, here are some stories. I wrote much more in my journal, shown in photographs, but my nearly full journal is now wandering too (though this was not intentional). If you'd like more stories, I can send more! Sorry the photo quality is low, I've just been shooting with my phone camera.
Thanks for this wonderful companion! I'll send another post when I pass it off to another wanderer. Infinite love and gratitude,
PS-- you've inspired me to make a wandering tobacco pouch of leather (and perhaps other things) with a website!
This handmade mug, earth tone green, travel size comfortable, gratified me with a feeling of being home and using MY mug while on the road.
I was hungry for that feeling when the mug came into my hands in Amsterdam October  after cycling almost 4 months with my brother along the Cote d'Azur and Cotes du Rhone after the seduction of wine country hills and exhaustion high of Alps to the sea of Liguria. We were effectively living in other people's homes, who invited us in spontaneously for a couple hours or days. Traveling light!
Amsterdam felt different than the sunny coast salt and heat of southern France, different than the pastoral charm of the wine route to Burgundy, and different than our prior 10 days of joining my mother on a Garden Club trip through Germany and Belgium. Amsterdam is where I met Van Gough, having seen photographs of his work printed in books where he spoke about creating emotion that I never sensed from picture of his work. Until I stood before the vibrating canvas, I did not understand.
When I left Amsterdam, the wandering mug met another such mug in Beaune, France.
This blue and brown mug belongs to a fire-breathing sommelier, our host in the sleepy wine village famous for nuance and elegance. He was every bit a Frenchman, poetic and thoughtful, refined. The photo shows the outdoor table in Sebastien's home where we drank tea in the morning and beautiful single malt Scotch whisky-- aged in burgundy barrels-- after wine by night. We smoked cigarettes with coffee mornings after long days crushing some of the finest pinot noir grapes in the world with our bare feet and tasting the new wine as it flowed into the barrel, vibrant magenta with oxygenation after fermentation heat. I held the Wandering Mug with wine stained fingers, colored with pride-of-the-earth purple.
Winemaker Ray Walker treated us well though he did not pay us for our time. We worked for joy, to learn and experience, tasting wine and food: escargot pizza late at night in the cellar, fresh baked treats and sweets in the afternoon lull, roasted lamb shank with a bottle of Chambertain as old as my older brother for dinner, or opening bottles and barrels in the cellar with wineglass in hand. Ray Walker: connoisseur, friend.
After leaving Sebastien's home, Caleb and I stayed several days with Sam and Myles (who worked with us at Ray Walker's cellar in Nuit-St-Georges), in a quiet stone Chateaux with sky blue shutters, settled in a golden vineyard. The Chateaux, forgotten and in barebones disrepair, was now a relative's squat with electricity from a long extension cord to the neighbors. Myles-- son of the absent proprietor's girlfriend-- was big and beautiful, South African and young. He was a quiet fellow with a easy smile who loved his Land Rover Defender more than his first girlfriend (or so he said with wine-large gestures with 6'5" man-arms, standing in the dark street). I sat in the morning sun, looking over the harvested vineyards, drinking in the Wandering Mug a Darjeeling loose tea given by a host who didn't speak my language. Oh the view! All greens spring & fall, raincoat yellow and saturated burgundy; the color effect is that of prolonged summer sunset reflected in the hillsides.
The Wandering Mug went south: Marseilles. I drank hot water for a few days in an unfurnished, newly acquired apartment of a friend, Vincent Beaume. Needless to say, with the cold and rain in Marseilles, I was so happy to have the wandering mug warm in my hands. The photo is the mug with all the decorations in the top floor flat with big windows and wood floors. I saw Vincent one other day in Marseilles, sailing on his boat Dreamtime for the whole sunny day. Before that, I'd seen him in New Orleans, visiting his French-creole girlfriend who lived in my old flat, which shared a balcony with my new flat in the same courtyard. I took Vincent in my convertible across New Orleans so he could purchase a part for his camera. He gave me a large photo of me tap dancing with friends in the Gazebo over the Mississippi River at dusk. When I arrived in Marseilles, I asked if he used the journal he bought from me the year prior in New Orleans. I saw his new photographs and we talked about his journey by foot on the Camino di Santiago.
I left Marseilles for a writer's seaside cabin: a charming window-walled apartment in a gulf favored by Victorian era writers and poets like Lord Byron, Virginia Woolf, and D.H. Lawrence. I drank sage tea on the balcony over the sea, a view of both sides of the small point, listening to the waves and following the flight of sea birds. The mug is the muted green of my vegetable-dyed paper, handmade and hand bound into a leather journal, where I reflect on my experience. My brother has the sister journal to mine, same paper but different leather. Photos are in the sea view cabin, writing and cooking.
In the December cold, I drank in the wandering mug a tea of garden herbs, made fresh in a large thermos near the fireplace in the home of Samarona and Dhara. Osho Nirvesha is a meditation center with olive groves, registered on the WWOOF Italia website as a biologic (organic) farm. Here I read, mug in hand, about what my choices of 4 colored bottles from a rainbow of vials can say about my nature, struggles, and values. This system, called Aura-Soma, is linked to I-Ching, Chakras, and Tarot. I read about Ayurveda and my brother read aloud Tarzan of the Apes while I fed the fire in the Tuscan cold. I wrote.
Florence. Wanderers also retreat. The rainy winter days are passed well when inside, warm, and free to think one's own thoughts and make art with the hands. I drank many cappuccinos from the Wandering Mug in my crows nest room atop the Florentinean villa, walls covered in art, view of olive grove hillside in one window, and vineyard slopes in the other. My room smells of leather, my craft. I make jewelry as well as journals, and now I am toying with clothes in leather. Wandering artist.
The mug wandered to the snowy Alps of Aosta, where I drink evening coffee after skiing. Somehow I've lost the photo of the wandering mug beside one of Annie's incredible pies.
Also, the mug warmed my hands on the balcony of my top floor apartment overlooking the sea from Capraia, a small Island off the coast of Livorno. Easter holiday on the Isle.
And now, I drink mug after green mug of hot lemon-and-ginger water at the cool window in the diffused spring sun-after-rain light. I dance to the Marvelettes, standing tall on the balls of my feet and relaxing into the movement, feeling very much alive in my 28th year during the age of Aquarius.