Do you leave a piece of your heart everywhere you travel? I know I do 🙂 I think we take for granted how much travel changes us for the better and enriches our lives and our view of the world.
What a gift it is to be able to travel, to experience different cultures, food, ways of life, art, architecture and it changes our perspective on what is truly important.
Travel shows us how little we know and understand the world and the people around us. It literally opens our eyes and sometimes our hearts. Some places you visit change you forever. This is how I feel about Italy. Was it the people, the food, the feeling you can’t put a finger on?
I just love driving around and exploring whether in Tuscany, New Zealand, Connecticut or Vermont and just finding hidden gems not on any tourist trail. As a result, we have had some of our most memorable experiences. What treasures there are to find but you must be open to the opportunity. I’ve said this before, I know, but don’t be in such a hurry. Take the time wherever you are to really see and observe. Walk slowly with no purpose whatsoever. Don’t be on the proverbial clock running from destination to destination. For instance, instead of driving to your vacation take a different route, or drive up that street you go by without ever seeing it. So you’ll get to your destination ten minutes later. Who cares! The time we have been given is fleeting and precious, don’t waste it.
What’s around the corner or down that road might open up a whole world of excitement and wonderment. Might you find a bookshop, art gallery, an old church or temple that will inspire you to reminisce about your ancestors.
Maybe it will be a small trattoria that seemingly serves you a meal you will remember all your life. Was it simple street food or fancy gourmet? Have you had this experience somewhere? I’d love to hear about it. For my husband and I we have felt this way four times while traveling: once in Cabo San Lucas, again in Ravello, Italy, once in Como, Italy and again in the Chianti region of Tuscany. Sometimes it is just as simple as a great lunch during a ski break at your favorite mountain spent with those you love.
Every new trip opens up a world of possibilities and reveals more about ourselves. How do we react to these new experiences? Do we shun them or welcome them in to become part of our soul. Do we change our perspective to become a new and improved version of ourselves. When you begin to peel away the layers of a destination you may be lucky enough to find its heartbeat, because there is a mixing of old and new traditions and customs. If you let it, a town will reveal its personality. Give it time!
I think you can never really know a place fully. Even your hometown. Have you ever said, “I didn’t know that was here in town?” We are forever linked to something larger than ourselves. Do we appreciate where we live? How do foreigners see our cities, towns and landmarks. Do they respect our heritage and monuments? Moreover, how do they feel when they stand on the edge of the Grand Canyon? Did it take their breathe away like it did mine?
Every time I have been to The Amalfi Coast and come around that corner on the road and Positano reveals itself I tear up. No clue why but the emotion is overwhelming and powerful!
Do others feel the rushing of time, the diversity in our landscapes which is unique. In some places and countries, you can drive 100 miles and experience a completely unique culture, food and traditions like we found in New Zealand or in the different regions of Italy. The North is so different from the South, even in the United States.
Do you find that food seems to connect every culture to the past through our traditions. No matter your heritage we all have food traditions. Did your grandmother have that special dish that you could smell every time you got to her house? Did she pass that on to your Mom and to you? Will you continue to pass on those special pieces of the past that define your family to the next generation or let them disappear? This year has reminded us of all we should hold dear, even the simple things.
This past year was nuts, right? Did you cancel trips, lose your job, miss out on birthdays, weddings or sadly funerals? I think it amplifies why we travel. The need to be connected to others, to our past, to our futures. No one is an island… cliche – I know! For me it has been a very hard year both personally and professionally. Having lost work and been separated from my family has been very hard.
Our best laid plans often don’t go to plan. We need to be flexible and pivot. Reinvent ourselves if we must, to survive or simply adjust and make due with the here and now. On a previous trip to Italy, to meet up with friends in Venice, our flight from NY was delayed, so you know the story, our connection in Heathrow was missed and we lost an entire day of our 3 day stay in Venice. We missed our reunion with old friends and -oh yeah no luggage to boot! We pivoted and still had a great weekend and found new ways to have fun.
Change what you can and adapt when necessary. Don’t be so structured that there is no time to adjust if need be. See a place with fresh eyes. Change your route, you won’t be disappointed. Take the long way home, rent a place and search out the fresh daily markets to truly experience an area. Live like a local! Search for the soul of a location.
Why do we travel? Think about what you want from that upcoming location. Is it to just lie on a warm beach for a few days? How about to reconnect with family, maybe it’s to see historic locations like the Rockefeller Center at Christmas or the Eiffel Tower.
Is it for the experience or thrill of a challenge? Do you want to hike Mount Washington (I loved it) or the Appalachian Trail? Maybe it is running a marathon in a new city. To achieve what you seek; decide what you want to experience . Please don’t make it about taking selfies in famous destinations. So sad how many people are only interested in that. (Sorry I know I harp on that a lot! probably in every blog- LOL!) Are you going to Angkor Wat in Cambodia to take a photo? Stop and think about why you want to visit. Travel provides so much more if you let it.
I feel traveling changes our way of thinking to hopefully be more responsible and environmentally conscious. Keep a light footprint wherever you go. I imagine most of us are in search of a simpler life. Where will you find it; because it might be right in your neighborhood, around the corner or in another country?
To conclude, sustainable tourism is more important now than ever. In order for these popular destinations to remain intact for their residents and future generations we all must be respectful. Your garbage goes in a trash can! Seems simple enough! Please remember that people live in those towns or cities. What a shame it would be to destroy these places that have brought joy to so many for so long. Respect! We must respect the history and all those that came before us to create these treasures. Italy has worked its magic on me and has me firmly in her grasp forever. I will keep exploring, tasting, and searching for its essence although I know I will never truly find it.
At least for now we can travel digitally! Support those sites you love, purchase their products until we can once again get there in person. We need to support these destinations, support their resilience to survive and determination to reinvent themselves, if necessary whether just a local business or a far off place. Thanks for listening to my rant! Until next time, Ciao!
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Amalfi Coast; Florence; New Zealand, Miami, Milan and the lakes region, Venice. You get the idea. Maybe you are an avid gardener! So am I and there are tons of those too! Click on the link to start reading!