Eat, Pray, Love in Italy
My brother had always wanted to go to Italy. He majored in History and minored in Italian. Our bookshelf at home was always very unique, next to a book on Ancient Civilizations would be another called Global Business of Tomorrow. A very well balanced textbook collection, well…aside from the extra amount of books on Ancient Rome and Soviet Russia on his end, but still. Our interests and studies were very different, but we both had always wanted to visit Italy. While my brother’s roots in his desire for Italy grew out of textbooks and historical landmarks…that you probably wouldn’t see on a top five landmarks list, my appetite for Italy grew more from The Lizzie McGuire Movie to be honest.
The Lizzie Effect.
It was the first movie I had seen more than once at a movie theater. I was a huge Lizzie McGuire fan growing up, and having my idol television character at the time, travel to Europe in a movie? I was sold. It fed into my dream to go abroad. Jokingly, I too would find a Paolo, then come home and find my Gordo. Unfortunately, all the Paolos in Italy are also smokers, and that’s a deal breaker for me, so needless to say it didn’t work out, sorry Paolo. Gordo, where are you?
Anyways, we booked our trip a year in advance to celebrate my brother’s graduation and be able to actually pay for it. The company we used was GoAhead Tours, and I highly recommend it (more on that later). That being said, I sort of had my own version of Eat, Pray, Love in Italy.
Eat. Pray. Love.
Not only is Elizabeth Gilbert one of my favorite authors, but Eat, Pray, Love is also one of my favorite books. My Eat, Pray, Love was a little different from Liz’s experience—I didn’t continue on to India or Indonesia, (obviously they’re still on my list). To find my version of Eat, Pray, Love, I didn’t really need to venture anywhere other than Venice, Florence, and Rome.
One of my favorite things about going traveling with Go Ahead, was that I was learning about everything I was looking at, constantly. There’s always something more enriching in your travel experience when you actually learn about the places your visiting and not just posting about them on your Instagram. But, hidden within these three cities, I learned things I didn’t plan on learning. It was like the lessons were planted there for me to discover along the way, and coincidentally really did resemble the three most important things in life: Eating, Praying, and Loving.
Food taught me about time and what flavor actually was. After eating my way through Italy, I was reminded what faith was, amidst the overbearing weight religion sometimes has on our lives. And while I didn’t come home with a Paulo, my eyes were unveiled. I saw a new side of love that so often, I quickly dismiss.
Along with the lessons I learned, I also rediscovered my love for photography while in Italy. Quite frankly, I’ve never been one for material souvenirs. The photos I have are what take me back to those frozen moments in time where I felt alive. And to me, that’s worth more than a key chain or a pen that gets lost and forgotten.
Lovely life Lesson:
Travel makes you come alive. Do more of it, even if it’s just a day trip somewhere. Experience new things, meet new people, learn about the culture, try and speak the language, climb a castle…you’ll soon realize that you grow a lot along the way.
The lessons you learn while traveling will help shape you. They were meant to reach you at that precise moment when you do realize what they are trying to show you. The hidden gems waiting to be discovered by the person they’re meant to enlighten: you. So take in every breath, every meal, every moment of serenity, every opportunity to feel and see love. Because all these things are trying to show you something from a new perspective. They’re trying to teach you something in their culture, through their eyes. The places that you visit are always waiting for you to discover something that lives within you. They’re waiting for you to give you the key you’ve been searching for.
Going back to my love for The Lizzie Effect, if you’re into the Hey Now, Hey Now, here’s a video I put together that sums up our trip. Because after all, this is what dreams are made of.
The main image above was directed by me, shot by my brother @the_testudine. Thanks bro.