How Travel Will Save the World

Pieta
Pieta
Pieta

The news today is off the charts. Man’s inhumanity to man is blasted from the front pages and TV headlines.

Every day we hear about things happening “over there” that are so atrocious, we can’t even believe someone would actually do them to another living being and yet, they seem to happen more and more.

And the same newspapers and tv anchors are desperately trying to make  us believe that this is all the “new normal”, that it is somehow understandable that someone kidnaps another living being and uses them for sex slavery or beheads them in front of their family or sends bombers to their villages to bomb them into eternity.

Pizzo
Aragonese castle in Pizzo

Looking at all this, one could easily start to think that there is no hope for mankind and that it is only a matter of time until we all end up like characters in a Greek tragedy, just one big, red lump on the stage when the curtain comes down.

If you believe the news, this is where we are headed and there is nothing you or anyone can do about it.

However for every problem, no matter how thorny, there is at least one solution.

And when the problem comes down to international relations, the only thing that resolves anything is communication.

Morocco
Morocco

Why travel will save the world

Before my husband and I bought our place in Southern Italy, I had no idea who the people were who populated those regions.

I never noticed their disasters, their troubles, their upsets as I had no idea who they were.

But now I have been there many times and have grown to know and love my Italian neighbors.

Santa Domenica Talao City Wall
Santa Domenica Talao City Wall

Their loves are my loves.
Their losses are my losses.
And their hopes and dreams for a great life are mine as well.

I feel this way about all of the places in the world I have visited. One cannot go to a place and submerge into the beauty of its culture without falling in love with the people who have created it.

And this is why travel will save us.

Santa Domenica Talao Kitties 2
Resident of Santa Domenica Talao, Calabria.

Suddenly we are not ok with some politician dropping bombs on our friends. When someone threatens them, we cannot turn our backs.

And the more places we visit, the more we must be involved in the care and handling of these places by our governments.

We the people of our countries have all the power. Our politicians only have what we give them.

Ostia Antica, Roma

When enough people befriend each other from other countries and cultures, our politicians and the bad news, lapdog media will be brought to heel and atrocities will end.

So if I have not yet convinced you that it is your duty as a citizen of our planet to go out and visit all the other citizens of our planet, let this article gently guilt you into planning a trip.

If you don’t know where to start contact me. We can plan your dream trip.

Sending Love From California to Calabria

Santa Domenica Talao in Springtime
Chris in Santa Domenica Talao
Chris in Santa Domenica Talao

I have written much about our magical village of Santa Domenica Talao and its warm and loving people. When we arrived there we suddenly became a part of something much bigger than ourselves and our world expanded greatly.

We were now a part of this beautiful place and part of the lives of our neighbors. We love them and we feel loved very much in return.

And this creates a bit of a double edged sword personally speaking, especially when we are so far away for so much of the time.

My Beautiful Friends Nunzia
My Beautiful Friend Nunzia

When you love someone, you feel their joys, their wonders, their loves and their losses. You feel their pain every bit as intensely as if it were your own.

I have noticed this as I have gotten closer to our neighbors in Santa Domenica Talao. This has been a very tough year for some of our closest friends.

Santa Domenica Talao in Springtime
Santa Domenica Talao in Springtime

And it takes a bit to understand all that that entails.  We now have a sense of responsibility for each one of them and for their happiness and protection. We have a responsibility to promote our beautiful village and its people. We have a responsibility to stand up for it when someone might say something mean against it. It is a part of us and we are a part of it now and forever.

Santa Domenica Talao

And with that knowledge is the certainty that when we lose someone, we will feel it keenly and we will grieve with the families and the loved ones left behind.

That said, we want to send our special love and care to our friends in Santa Domenica who have suffered recent losses.

Our Beautiful Church
Our Beautiful Church

Even when we are in California we think of you often and always wish we could be with you, especially in the rough times.

We will be back among you soon.

XO Chris

Tortora – A Hidden Jewel High Above the Tyrrhenian Sea

Tortora

Italy is studded with many small towns and villages that are like hidden jewels, waiting to be discovered by the intrepid traveler. One of those gems is the village of Tortora, the north-westernmost village in Calabria.

The village is divided into two main sections: The Marina, and the much more interesting Centro Storico (historic center), nestled in the mountains above the  Marina, about a 15 km drive from the sea.

It was the Centro Storico that our friend Giacomo, whom we met in the neighboring village of Aieta, introduced us to when he invited us for lunch with his wonderful family at the Ristorante Al Caminetto.

Ristorante Al Caminetto
At the Ristorante Al Caminetto

Al Caminetto serves delicious local Calabrian dishes, authentically prepared by Roseangela. We enjoyed our experience there so much that we end up returning to Al Caminetto with Giacomo and his family every time we visit Calabria. During one of our visits, Roseangela showed us how she prepares her superb ravioli and fusilli:

Tortora has a very rich history,  having been occupied since prehistoric times. Excavations that took place nearby revealed stone tools dating back to 35,000 years ago.

Since then, the area has been occupied by the Enotri (the early people of Italy) up through the 6th century BC, as well as by the Greeks, Romans, Lombards, and Burbons thereafter.

You can view a collection of local Enotri and Greek artifacts at the Museum of Blanda. The English-speaking guide did a wonderful job of revealing the history of the Tortora region to us:

In the Museum of Blanda
Greek pottery

Wander the narrow, winding streets and you’ll encounter a number of small shops and galleries. We met Giuseppe, a local ceramics artist, at a small art gallery, and he then took us to his ceramics shop a short distance away.

Chris and Giuseppe at a local art gallery
Giuseppe at his ceramics shop

Although a bit off the beaten path, the short drive up to the Tortora Centro Storico will reward you with beautiful mountain views, excellent restaurants, interesting shops, and a superb museum. Be sure to make it your first stop on your trip down to Southern Italy!

Beautiful Tortora
Beautiful Tortora