This is Why I Travel

I’m in Calabria, but my luggage? Well, it could be either in Sardegna or Rome. It’s hard to say at this point. But somewhere from my Caglieri to Lamezia voyage, with a layover in Rome, my luggage went missing. 

My left leg is swollen to the size of a tree trunk. I have what’s called “venous insufficiency” – A fancy way of saying my blood circulation is lazy. Travel always makes it worse. My pants feel like they are trying to strangle me. In fact, I am sure they might. 

I’m jet lagged to the high heavens. It’s 3AM and I’m wired. I don’t know if I’m ready for breakfast, lunch or dinner. All I know is that my body cannot tell it’s 3AM. This is going to last at least 2 days, isn’t it? 

I’m at the ATM trying to take out some cash. The machine goes through the process. Spits out the card and receipt, but the money? Not so. A glitch somewhere in which the machine “thinks” it gave me the money, but no Euros are to be seen. The bank is closed, of course. This is going to be a pain to resolve, I’m sure. 

But the best is yet to come. My rental car is stolen. Literally from under my nose. I see a young kid driving and I think to myself, “Wow, he has the same exact car I have.” Oh wait a minute, it is the same exact car I have! And as if that wasn’t bad enough, my trunk is filled with several hundred Euros worth of groceries, having just gone shopping. Someone is going to eat well tonight, it’s not going to be me, I have suddenly lost my appetite. I think I might throw up. 

And yet……

And yet, I love travel! Especially to Italy, of course! So much so that when I get back from one trip, my immediate thought is to the next. Sure, travel has some risk and pains. But so doesn’t every day life. I feel no less safe when traveling than when I am at home. I’ve made it a point to feel “at home” no matter where I am. That always puts my mind at ease. It’s a big world, but not nearly as big as we think. 

And I’m not the only one who feels this way. Here are some reasons why I love travel. And in speaking with other travel lovers, I would say these apply to every traveler. 

At the famous Cafe Florian in Venice

It’s a basic requirement that for every vacation, there must be some fun built in. Let’s face it, at any given time, every day life can at times be, well, boring. There’s the everyday tasks of work, doctors visits, car maintenance, worry about our health, pick-up & drop off the kids at soccer…. While all these every day tasks are the norm, travel provides fun and a good time that is far outside the norm. 

Now a good time can mean something different for everyone. I love seeing new places, new culinary shops, new architecture, new places for lunch. (I have a fondness for “salumerie” (Italy’s delicatessen shops) that many others might not possibly be able to understand.) Visiting one for me is a good time! But for me, I am just as happy as a clam sitting under a beach umbrella for 8 hours straight. The salty water and sandy toes are all I need for my idea of a good time while traveling. Yet this ideas, this is my family’s idea of a nightmare. “The sun is so hot! And so much sand everywhere, why is there So. Much Sand!” Haha! To each our own! 

One of the many St. Anthony statues in Padova

Travel provides anticipation, the positive kind, not the anxious type! Traveling gives us something to look forward to, to daydream about, to tell friends and co-workers about and to plan for. Perhaps travel permits us to shop for some new clothes, to get in shape, to mentally prepare for. Travelings gives us something to brag about to others! “Oh, a coffee date? I’m sorry, I’m flying to Venice that day!” I know it sounds cheesy, but how fun is that to say?

Travel allows us to get out of the rut of every day life. For the most part, we do the same thing every day, follow the same routines, see the vast majority of the same people, the same neighborhoods and surroundings. Travel allows us to see new things, new ideas, new methods of doing the same thing. Travel can also show us a new way of thinking. You can become a new person, all while traveling. 

In Cagliari with a special group of people!

Traveling, especially in a tour setting, provides the opportunity to build lifelong friendships. It’s one of the reasons why I started my business and why I limit my adventure weeks to just 12 participants. This really allows for new friendships to be built and fostered. Or perhaps an old friendship can also be rekindled. College roommates sharing a room again on an adventure week, how fun is that? Our itineraries are designed to allow friendships to flourish and making sure that no one feels left out. 

Friendships built while traveling also have a special bond that can’t be compared to other friendships. You will always have that bonding experience to share, to recall, to discuss. It’s a connection unlike any other. Traveling in a group allows friends to grow together over a joined experience, not many friendships will have that, especially friendships built later in life. 

I don’ think you need me to capture the location for this one. 😉

Seeing as my business focuses on culinary trips, I should really move this to the top! But traveling allows us to enjoy good food and not just the same old food we’ve been eating at home for months or years! Breaking bread with others is a wonderful way to create a truly memorable experience. A casual trattoria can be just as memorable as an elegant restaurant, provided the company and food is delicious. 

As I mentioned above, I have a particular fondness for Italian salumerie. These are shops that sell items like prosciutto, parmigiano cheese, breads, canned tuna, specialty oils and other delicious items. Just the smell alone when I walk in is an experience like no other for me, one that I can’t experience unless I am traveling to Italy. So yes, food is a highlight of why I, and my clients, travel to Italy! 

Delicious zucchini blossoms! Worth the travel and jet lag alone!

Travel, more so than any other activity, allows us to build beautiful memories. Memories of new places, delicious food, new friends. I am often taken back in my mind to my travels of Italy. The days spent at the beach, the visits to pastry shops, the delicious meals, the new locations. Even getting lost or a luggage mishap, while frustrating in real time, conjures up memories that are uplifting and inspiring. Just looking at pictures of our past travels can make us feel better when we are a bit down. Travel enhances our lives not just while we are traveling, but long afterwards.

I don’t mean to be morbid, but there might come a day when we are unable to travel. As we age, many, many, years from now, our health might decline, or our finances will require us to spend money on other priorities. That is why I travel as much as I can, when I can. I don’t miss an opportunity for travel, because I don’t know when the next one might come.

How about you, are you ready to join me in my travels? Nothing is promised to anyone, so I take the travel chance when I can. Tree trunk leg and all. Are you ready? If not now, when?

Where else are you going to find sunflowers this tall? Can you guess?

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What to Pack for Italy

Cosa Mettere in Valigia per l'Italia

Everyone is always asking me what they should pack for Italy,
so I’ve created a quick reference guide that you can use for your next trip.

Hint: You don’t need nearly as much as you think you do!

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