This past April, I ventured across the globe to Tuscany and spent a week at La Loggia with my favorite poet, David Whyte, and a group of 30 strangers. What transpired over that week was a string of small and large miracles, adoption into an "instant family" and dozens of meals, hikes & conversations that are still emblazed in my heart. The hardest part of a great trip though, is keeping that trip alive long after you've returned home again. It's easy to forget the perfection of fava beans and goat cheese at a simple picnic table, the peace of mornings around a fireplace reading poetry, the quietly changing angles of sun over landscape. There is a certain kind of vulnerability that arrives when you travel and disappears when you get home. It's that exact vulnerability that allows the miracles to happen. It's so easy to forget how to stay open and how to receive.
Eight months after we all returned home, I am happy to say that I've stayed close with my new Italian family and have been especially blessed to live in the Bay Area with a few of them. And last night, in all her beauty, Italy came back to us. Our fellow David Whyte-follower, Eric, was in town visiting from Seattle. Dee, Ward and I met him at my favorite family-run Italian restaurant, Tommaso's in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood. We tucked ourselves into a cozy booth, shared glasses of a beautiful Super-Tuscan red wine and nibbled on fresh mushroom pizza. We let ourselves truly reminisce -- the kind of reminiscing you can't do with people who didn't take the journey with you.
We also reminded each other of how important and influential that trip to Italy was and how valuable an investment travel can be, especially within the backdrop of poetry, agritourism and philosophy. This is the kind of travel that matters. These are the kinds of trips we all need to be taking.
I'm lucky because I work for a company who's main goal is to inspire travel. I realize that some travel experiences have been more accessible to me than to others. For all of those trips, I am deeply grateful. It is my wish for 2009 that those closest to me can experience an amazing trip of their own - a trip that rocks your core, a trip that brings you closer to yourself than ever before. It doesn't have to be across an ocean to Italy. Sometimes it just takes a drive down Highway 1 or a weekend painting retreat. Whatever your dreams are, let me know about them - I'll do anything within my travel expertise to help you make them real.