My travel experiences are most enhanced when I open up, let down my guard, step out of my comfort zone and just say YES. This may seem simple but I know there are people that either struggle with this or have never considered it. For me, this starts by allowing that still small voice to guide my interactions (let’s be honest, some folks are crazy so you have to follow your gut on who to engage vs. not).
I heard that voice in the Atlanta airport where I met Kelsey from South Carolina in the security screening line (we all know how long that process can take, why not pass time by getting to know someone and besides dope people tend to meet other dope people) and learned that we were both headed to Italy (me Milan and her Rome, both through Toronto, what are the odds!). I next saw her in Toronto, both flights to Italy were delayed, and so I had another opportunity to say yes, let’s eat and have drinks (why fret about things beyond our control, live in the here and now). Most of the next 4 hours were spent drinking wine and getting to know each other’s stories, passions and on some level fears as well. Now I have to back up here and share that I promised myself that thus year would be about cultivating true authentic relationships with like minded individuals, so saying yes in that regard aligns with my goal (yay me!! Eat, Sleep and LIVE the goal!!!). I learned that I had SO MUCH in common with Kelsey and it all started with a simple yes!
Let’s fast forward another 12ish hours, I make my way to Venice, Italy (yes, I know I said I was flying to Milan but that was just my entry point to the country on a cheap flight – – I must share those tips in another post – – coming soon!!). Since I’m a foodie, I immediately look for the best nearby restaurant, Nevodi (this place was INCREDIBLE!!! HANDS DOWN!!!!). After a great meal, I arrived back to the apartment and realized that I forgot the umbrella, my girl Dethra had to teach a class so I decided to head back for it. Before I originally left the restaurant, I met Karen from Toronto who has traveled to Italy several times a year for the past 10 years (Wow! Just WOW!). Karen was still there and she asked me to stay, so as you’ve likely guessed, another opportunity for yes. I spent the evening getting to know Karen and her boyfriend Silvio who just so happened to be the owner of the restaurant (yep, that happened in REAL LIFE). They were so much fun, we ate and drank, ate some more and danced, yes, we danced when all other patrons were gone (what did we dance to? Come on, I know that you are dying to know my most memorable moment . . . Lionel Richie All Night Long, just the facts folks, I couldn’t script this any better!). So just when you think it couldn’t get any better, upon the clock striking midnight it was Karen’s birthday, she was so dope that she invited us to dinner the next night to celebrate with her (in case you’ve forgotten this all started with a yes, when you lead with yes, you are more open, more welcoming, more inviting. Good energy draws in good energy.). The next night, we arrived to Nevodi and the air had shifted, we were all old friends greeting each other with hugs and kisses (double kiss is a must in Italy!!!). Thanks to Silvio and Chef Andrea, we had a PHENOMENAL meal (I am a bonafide foodie, if I say it’s good you can cash that check any day of the week and twice on Sunday!) and another great experience born by just saying yes!!