As I start out on this new adventure to Italy and beyond for the summer, I can’t help thinking it is going to be a good one. But really, I’ve already had more than my fair share of adventures, from my perch in a swinging TSA bassinet on my first flight from my birthplace in Togo, West Africa, to my multiple cross-country drives, and starting life anew in my thirties to pursue a graduate degree in Bologna, Italy. If I never had another adventure, I really couldn’t complain, and I’d still be fiercely grateful for all of it.
After nearly a year of adjustment to being back home in San Diego, California, and getting used to not being a perpetual traveler, I am now off from my university job for the semester, and therefore back to my old traveling ways. At the moment I am lounging in an armchair at JFK, on my way to a wedding near Lecce in Puglia, Italy, which forms the heel of the boot of Italy. I have been to Puglia one time previously, and the abundance of sun, vegetables, and unique architecture made it a favorite of mine immediately.
Combine a beautiful place like Puglia with a traditional Italian wedding of two of your best friends, with some of your other best friends in attendance, and you’ve got an epic event on your hands. Ironically, these two love birds met for the first time at my apartment in Bologna. Several years ago, an American friend of mine convinced me to throw a “day after Valentine’s Day party” for singles to meet. That particular friend is still single, but two of my other friends – an American and an Italian – met at that party, and the rest was history, as they say.
Some of my favorite travelers, also part of the same friend group, are currently en route to the wedding as I write this. I will meet one of them in a few hours at the Emirates check-in desk at JFK, after my godmother takes me to a Peruvian dinner in Queens to fill the time of my long layover. Another flight and a bus and a train later, we will all be in Puglia together. And that will kick off this summer with a bang.
I only hope that you all will experience time with loved ones and/or some wonderful adventures this summer as well. And if you don’t have anything planned yet, well, get to it!