Italy, France – Travel Early and Often!
“Travel changes people. It broadens perspectives and teaches new ways to measure quality of life.” Rick Steves
Florence, Italy. The Duomo bells ring, at 7:45 a.m. –an unusual alarm clock that follows a warm evening with family in a room filled with vibrant students. Through Jacksonville University in Florida, Leo’s sister and brother-in-law offer summer programs of art history, photography and painting in France and Italy. We were fortunate to be included in the farewell dinner celebration for the end of their studies.
The student group of 15 young people, aglow with new experiences and the kind of relationships forged through sharing all things new, trade group photos and insider memories. They may have an ever-so-small idea of the imprint they will carry with them from their sojourn in Italy. The molecules of imagination have been stimulated.
The students gathered from Maine and Ohio, West Virginia and Florida. They seem to recognize the unique privilege of participating in a life-changing program and summer. Their families and friends will welcome home students who are different, who are better equipped and more motivated to dive off the board into the pool of possibilities life offers.
We-are well beyond the clear-eyed face of youth but our ventures have been similar. It IS never too late to learn, to set aside old fears and needs for security to pursue new roads of travel, learning, and culture.
Our mature eyes absorb the naked truth of Alpine ridges against the sky and the fickle faces of sunflowers turned away from the sun. We exchange bonjours and ciaos with kind and interesting people. We see the pride enmeshed in each fine craft that has evolved from generations of artisan development. Each adventure renews our feeling that we’ve just begun.
All of us feel the tumult in the world these days with so much suffering and displacement, adversarial politics, economic fears and ongoing security threats. How easy it is to focus on the negative and even to let your fears guide your decisions about travel.
We can attest that travel so broadens your horizons that you re-gain your perspective and refresh your spirit to address challenges that lie ahead.
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