Oh God… Eric is back from vacation and ready to talk about it. Oh yeah… I have lots to talk about. This post, without giving a ton of detail of the day to day, I am talking about my thoughts post Italy.
I made the last blog post on my phone and polished it up enough to release after our second day in Rome. This was the night before we met up with my Italian family… The Giancarli’s.
If you have followed along on Facebook, you know how that went. Splendid. Better than that… It was amazing. What happened over the next three days in Beffi, Tivoli, and Rome was nearly magical. Magical in the sense that these people who I had just met fell into my life like a missing jigsaw puzzle piece. Like they were always supposed to be there! There was no “let’s get to know each other” period. The courtship was a hug and some kisses on either side of the face. With that, we were in. And we never looked back.
For two days straight we met more and more family while visiting a few more locations outside of Rome. On the third day, we were planning on doing a few things with Aiden before he left the next afternoon… The Italian family made plans to see us one more day and came into town (Rome), had lunch with us, and then hung out for the next 5 hours while showing us more sights. We had a blast and continued to learn more and more about each other. (Thankfully a few of them know English!)
While on the plane coming home I had to ponder the importance of this whole trip in our lives. (well, mine for certain)
I made this trip because of the “built-in” travel guides we would have with Joe, Sylvia, Mike, and Carla. Seeing Beffi and meeting family were big motivators as well. My Aunts and Uncles have been running point on keeping this family thread alive and relevant for decades. This is the hardest trick to any family, let alone separated by an ocean and different languages. If we went by ourselves I could see myself avoiding a multiday trip to Rome based on the way we normally travel. Its hard to say.
OK.. The “Why” and “How” have been talked about… But the “What now” is the big question mark for me.
I have made it a point in my life to “Never see the same place twice”. You can call foul on me for places like Hot Springs, Moab and Ouray… But those are not family vacation spots. Those are generally off-roading trips where you want to guide and take new people. I have learned over the years that taking new people to new places has the potential to keep them from coming back! Friendly and familiar take the edge off any trip when dealing with strangers and customers.
When taking family trips, I have always tried to be a bit of an explorer. My kids and Angela have a far greater tolerance for weird places and random stops. I raised them and taught them that this is normal! So, this means I can take trips with them that are in unfamiliar territory. We can drive until we don’t want to drive anymore. We can go see things that anyone finds interesting.
This might be the first trip I have taken where I would go to the same place twice. Maybe not Rome… But I want to dig deeper into the Beffi and the countryside. There is so much to see and do, but still have a bit of that safety net that you are not too far from family. There is also a feeling that I have not seen enough of your family stomping grounds. Aiden wanted to go down to the river… There were Roman ruins nearby that we didn’t have time to see… There is hiking in the hills. I could knock out a week out there just looking around with very little research.
What now? Aiden asked me tonight on the phone when are we going back. He has never asked me that before. We have been on countless trips and have seen some amazing sights. But, we have never had a connection to a place like we did over 6 days in Italy.
Could it be that we have stumbled into a tradition this late in life?
Why now? Do I have space in my life for this? How can I not make space for this? If we have learned anything over the last year.. It’s that family and friends are everything. Without them, you don’t have squat. (I saw a tiktok of a guy proclaiming how confident he was in his life because he we doing what he wanted and did not need to make excuses for leaving everyone behind. I thought, “How sad that he is the center of his universe and nobody else has value to him”) This is family and they are friends. This is important. More important than a casual trip to Machu Picchu or some wonder of the world?
There was a time when I thought I would make it to all 7 continents. I may still, but I think that the goal aspect of it is a bit hollow. Big deal. Is it worth your greatest commodity making money to travel someplace for your own personal satisfaction? Oh, your greatest commodity is time. Does spending countless hours earning, planning, and traveling for personal satisfaction mean anything at the end of the day? On your deathbed, can you say “Glad I saw the Great Wall”. Yeah, this is coming from Mr. Travel. Just thinking out loud.
At some point, as a youth wanting to fill your vacuous mind, or an adult who still enjoys sharing their knowledge (Now that I think about it, those off-road trips with Forts are a great example of sharing knowledge), you have to look at the WIFM (What’s in it for Me?) and as you grow… What’s in it for others around me? Can you do everything for yourself and feel satisfied? Or is life more about being a vessel to relate the adventure and stories with those you want to be around? I think there is a time when both seem more valuable to your inner self.
I am definitely tired and jet-lagged… So maybe this whole post is “punchy”. I am out of my mind?
Quote I saw tonight… Pertinent?
Get beyond love and grief: exist for the good of Man. Musachi Miyamoto
Aiden called earlier like I said and he is going to get us ham and ingredients for Carbonara this week while he is home for break. I am happy that he has had an impression made on this trip. When we were talking I told him that I went to Chik-fell-ette (refused to look up how to spell that stupid restaurant) with Angela after dropping him at his car. I told him it was terrible. He quickly confided that he had grabbed a burger on the way home to Kenosha and had felt the same way. We both agreed that Italy had the hidden benefit in that it was as detox from American food trip.
That’s enough for now… Horribly tired and have work tomorrow. Angela went to bed at 8 PM… LOL. She was dying at 6:30. Friday at work will be rough!
The Scholarship fund is live. Folks who donated are getting thank you letters from the fund managers. This is so great. A post about that is due for this weekend.